Incorporating a railway into a building

Incorporating a railway into a building

Janus Rostock- regional design director, Atkins, on making a railway part of a design.

Our idea was inspired by a residential project we’re currently working on in Dubai which is bisected by an elevated metro line running through its heart.

The natural reaction was to see the metro viaduct as a problem but we saw it another way – as the lifeblood of the development.

We’re looking to make the most of the shading provided by the line to enable activities within the space below it – the possibilities are endless, from sports courts and pitches to cafés and small retail outlets, as well as tracks for running and cycling. There could be public art and exhibitions, or skateboard ramps and children’s playgrounds.

But why stop at one development. The space below Dubai’s elevated metro lines, present and future, represents a tremendous underutilised asset to the city. It is easily accessible to all and would support and encourage healthy, active outdoor lifestyles.

Much has been made of the success of New York’s High Line, which has seen the repurposing of a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side into a public park. Dubai has an opportunity to really take the front foot by making its very current public transport network even more dynamic, relevant and alive.

Dubai has never been afraid to venture into the unknown, to take risks and pioneer new ideas. With the right planning and consideration, we think this could be part of the city’s next evolution – and where Dubai leads others follow.

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