I’ve been looking for an excuse to indulge my nerdy obsession for good-looking public transport hubs. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee seemed the perfect opportunity to talk aesthetics of underground stations. Of all the routes in London, the Jubilee line extension contains some of the most striking stations in the network. Previously known as the under-construction ‘Fleet line’, the Jubilee line was officially renamed in 1979, to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (25 years). It was extended eastward to Stratford in 1999, and it’s the new stations and developments that I have a soft spot for. A triumph of architecture and design, the steel and glass ‘Starship’ Southwark (above) is a favourite. But around the globe are two other subway networks that I am dying to see in the flesh.
Kazakhstan – Almaty Metro
Forget everything you learned from Borat. I saw this in Brownbook magazine this month. The new Kazakhstan Almaty Metro was first opened in November 2011 after a whopping 23 years of construction. It’s only the second Metro system in Central Asia (the first being in Uzbekistan). Clean, polished, and curvaceous, decorated with marble, stained glass and elaborate ceiling fixtures, it’s Soviet Palace meets Dr No.
Images via English Russia
Sweden – Stockholm Tunnelbana
No other underground network can come close to the decoration of the Stockholm Subway. Dubbed the ‘longest art gallery in the world’ there are installations in almost every station. Over 140 artists were involved. The most striking make a feature of the exposed bedrock. Murals in cavernous spaces remind the traveller they are voyaging through the belly of the earth.
Images via Flickr
- Davey Spens