Opened in spring 2006, Shanghai-South new station combines functional fluidity and architectural symbolism in a large round, unifying form. The separation of flow movements takes place within the stratification of the building, with departures above the platforms and arrivals below. The circular layout provides optimal car traffic movements around the perimeter and a shorter access route to the trains through the waiting rooms overlooking the platforms. The drop-off circle, lined by a loop housing, shops, and services, overlooks the square waiting rooms areas located in the centre of the volume. The overall view of the station makes it easier for passengers to find their way around. The composition makes explicit reference to Chinese cosmology, with the dynamic circle of the Sky materialized by the translucent roof covering the static square of the Earth represented by the waiting rooms area.
While highly compact, the circle completely covers the tracks and organizes all interchanges within the immediate radius.
With a 255-meter diameter, the roof falls within the great tradition of railway canopies, extending the typology to include the circle. The 18 branched beams of the radiating framework sit on two concentric circles of columns and a central compression ring. Covering 6 hectares, the translucent roof is assembled from three layers (sunbreakers, polycarbonate and perforated metal), a solution that controls lighting levels and transforms the station into a giant lantern by night. It is an architecture that successfully blends tradition and the future.