Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus
WKT will function more like an international airport than a rail station as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region maintains economic and political incentives from P.R.C. Consequently, the facility needs to have both custom and immigration controls for departing and arriving passengers. What is highly unusual in this facility is that West Kowloon Terminus will have immigration domain for both Hong Kong and China in the same facility as opposed to how immigration works in a typical international airport, which is solely the domain of the host country.
The site’s prominence immediately adjacent to the future West Kowloon Cultural District and next to Victoria Harbor required a design which was completely motivated by civic demand. Enriching the challenge was the reality that there would be 400,000 square meters of commercial development on top of the station which would be auctioned off to a developer in a later date.
As the “gateway” to Hong Kong, it was considered vital to connect the station with the surrounding urban context and make one aware that whether arriving or departing – “You are in Hong Kong”. In order to do this, the design compacted all of the supporting spaces more efficiently to allow for a very large void down into the departure hall below as well as apertures down to the track platforms. The outside ground plane bent down to the hall and the roof structure above gestures toward the harbor. The result is a 45 meter high volume which focuses all attention through the south façade toward views of the Hong Kong Central skyline and Victoria Peak beyond.