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The World's Most Luxurious Metro Station?

The World's Most Luxurious Metro Station?
Zaha Hadid Architects

King Abdullah is making the trains run on time.

The King has "instructed" that Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's fast-growing capital city, build its new six-line Metro system in just four years. To compare: it took New York's MTA four years to renovate one station.

For Riyadh's biggest station, a three-way interchange in the city's financial district, the King has chosen this airy hub designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. Its facade is designed to let in light while keeping out the harsh desert sun, while the overall shape is meant to recall wind-blown sand dunes.

We note that there's a bare-haired woman ascending the escalator in this last rendering -- a gesture of subversion from the architect's studio? Either way, King Abdullah seems to like what he sees.

All images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at The Atlantic Cities. He lives in New York. All posts »

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