Revealed: Stunning new images show gold-plated, ultra-luxurious Riyadh metro station that Saudi king has ordered to be built

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station has been designed by half-British architect Zaha Hadid

The next time your train spends five minutes stuck inside a filthy, rat-infested Tube tunnel, or you find yourself unable to squeeze onto yet another delayed train from a cramped, non-descript station, it’s probably best not to think of Riyadh.

For, while London Underground passengers face poky platforms not really designed for the millions of users they encounter every day, where the only decoration are endless advertising billboards - a new state-of-the art, ultra-luxurious underground station is being built in Saudi Arabia.

With its gold-plated walls, space-age designs, huge marble walkways and a sophisticated passenger flow system designed to ensure rush hour commutes are as stress-free as possible, Riyadh’s recently commissioned King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station is set to become the most luxurious underground stop in the world.

Click here for more images of the Riyadh metro system

The project is not some far-off fantasy either; the man funding the project, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, has demanded the station be ready for passengers in just four years – the time it often takes for a major station overhaul in New York or London.

What may be particularly frustrating to the weary UK commuter, however, is that the entire project has been designed by the half-British architect Zaha Hadid. Somewhat ironically, Hadid - the award winning designer behind the Maxxi museum in Rome and Seoul‘s Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park - works from an office in London.

Along with numerous private residential buildings, Hadid has worked on countless major international projects, such as: 33-35 Hoxton Square in London, the d'Leedon building in Singapore, the Beethoven Concert Hall in Germany, the Changsha Meixihu International Culture and Arts Centre in China, Slovakia's Bratislava Culenova New City Centre and the CMA CGM headquarters in Marseille, France.

With its breathtaking sky bridges, huge car parking system and multi-level shopping areas, the King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station above-ground entrance will be a colossal building built in the futuristic, gently curving, glass-dominated design for which Hadid has become famous.

The 20,434 metre-square station’s appeal won’t be entirely aesthetic however. As befits an underground stop in one of the hottest cities in the world, a cutting edge air conditioning system will be in place to keep commuters cool.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / Analyst (CIMA finalist/newly qualified)

£32000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / F...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of a mark...

Recruitment Genius: Help Desk Specialist

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides Reliabili...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor