The Gautrain hits the rails

The Gautrain is a first of its kind in South Africa. The architectural solution gives clues to the state of the discipline in the country. A set of consistent design principles were defined for the 13 stations and within these the architects and designers set to fulfil the brief with a small degree of creative liberty. The results are not the most exciting spaces – this is certainly no Jubilee Line Extension – but, if somewhat “international” in style, nonetheless the stations speak quietly to the SA setting and are wonderfully polished and accomplished. The key “design” principle adhered to is the use the acacia tree as an umbrella theme to provide the form of shelter and shade whilst referring to their rural function as nodes on routes and hubs of activity and biodiversity. Throughout the stations "tree" structures – columns, structural members, escalators - represent the tree's trunk and branches and "wave" structures – entrance canopies, roofs etc -represent the umbrella of its canopy. Along the railway trusses supporting the lines are informed by the design of “Asante” stools – which are said to be the seats of the sitter’s soul. Each station is also imbued with a subtle locality-based theme - take a look at the Gautrain website for more.