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Cable Service

UNStudio’s Blagoveshchensk Cable Car Terminal Station will span the Amur River, shuttling passengers to and fro between Russia and China in mere minutes.

By Lauren Mang

Rendering of the Blagoveshchensk Terminal Station in Russia show cable cars crossing the Amur River to Heihe, China. Rendering: PYXID.

The Netherlands-based architecture practice UNStudio is speeding along with what it hopes will become a very 21st-century way to travel: the cable car.

After completing designs for cable-car projects in Amsterdam and Gothenburg, Sweden, the firm is poised to begin construction on designs selected for the suspended mode of transportation in Blagoveshchensk, Russia. The Blagoveshchensk Terminal Station will be the first cross-border cable-car system, featuring two lines and four cabins, each accommodating up to 60 passengers and their luggage. It will span the Amur River and link the eastern Russian city with Heihe, China. The total travel time from start to finish: seven minutes and 30 seconds.

“As it crosses the natural border of the Amur River, the Blagoveshchensk–Heihe cable car will be the first-ever cable-car system to join two countries and cultures. This context provided rich inspiration for the Blagoveshchensk Terminal Station, which not only responds to its immediate urban location, but also becomes an expression of cultural identity and a podium for the intermingling of cultures.” —Ben van Berkel, UNStudio

The building is designed to showcase views of both cities and foster social connections between them both. Rendering: PYXID.

“Cable-car systems provide a new form of public transport that is sustainable, extremely fast, reliable, and efficient,” says UNStudio cofounder and architect Ben van Berkel. “Although primarily a pragmatic solution, cable cars are a very congenial way to travel, as they enable us to see and experience our cities in a whole new way.” A 527,432-square-foot site in Blagoveshchensk will house the Terminal Station, which is intended to foster social connections between the two countries and strengthen their burgeoning economic ties. The design, which encompasses more than 283,000 square feet, spotlights impressive views of both cities through generous applications of glass: An elevated, Heihe-facing viewing platform overlooks the Amur, and the arrivals platform features views of Blagoveshchensk. The station’s open shape invites passengers to explore its commercial spaces and what UNStudio calls an “elevated urban park,” composed of terraces and green spaces punctuated by sculpture and spots from which to view the riverscape. Outside, a cultural square will connect the city with the terminal and river and provide space for public events and performances. Construction on the Blagoveshchensk Terminal Station is slated to begin later this year.


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