Train Station, V&A


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Kevy: The train station has been designed specifically to point at the V&A so that it’s the first thing you see upon arrival in Dundee. The building is famously designed by Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, basing his designs on the cliffs at Arbroath. The Arbroath cliffs are a beautiful red colour, with layers and layers of sandstone stacked up, making the beautiful horizontal lines that Kuma has referenced here. Between every one of those horizontal bars, Kuma has cleverly made ample room for seagulls to happily nest. Despite being an island, Japan has very few sea birds, and on Kuma’s trip to Arbroath, he was very taken with the seagulls and other birds resident in the cliffs there and he wanted to pay tribute to them.

Anna: Is it not designed in such a way that from the inside you can look into the nests?

Kevy: Yes. From the outside you can see the birds coming and going and then when you’re inside, you’ll be able to see the seagulls living their lives in their homes. Some compromises were made on Kuma’s initial design. Originally the building was going to jut out into the Tay, like a priapic bunker, to allow boats to collect passengers from the well-to-do neighbourhood of Newport-on-Tay, however, this was deemed elitist and the building now only extends partially into the river. The construction techniques involving the concrete elements are absolutely cutting edge, this building could not have existed ten or even five years ago. Kengo Kuma himself has admitted surprise that his designs were able to be built and says it acts as testament to the will and creativity of the engineers and builders involved.