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How a group of Columbia GSAPP students designed the future of a New Jersey train station

This design was a finalist in the Adaptive Reuse Architecture Design Competition

Yuchen Qiu, Peicong Zhang, & Hao Zhong are currently architecture students at Columbia GSAPP. We are always interested in adaptive reuse and definitely believe that architecture is not just creating something new, but also preserving the past and reinvigorating old buildings. As people living in New York, we had the chance to visit the old railway terminal in New Jersey. The train shed has remained vacant since the train traffic ceased in 1964 and is prohibited from public access ever since then. It's such a pity that this important transportation hub in American history is just decaying there, so we kept thinking about how to reclaim the urban void and bring its luster back. That's the reason why we attended this competition.

The main issues we’ve been debating about through our design process are how much of the shed we should preserve and how could we show respect to the site in an architectural way. We reached the agreement to keep the shed as much as possible, only removing parts for landscape and inserted tall boxes when it is required by programs.  The intervention under the shed follows the grid of columns, and long boxes with various programs and movable exhibition cabins are placed at the location of train tracks to recall the image of trains arriving and departing.

Yuchen Qiu, Peicong Zhang, & Hao Zhong | Columbia GSAPP | DesignClassYuchen Qiu, Peicong Zhang, & Hao Zhong | Columbia GSAPP | DesignClassYuchen Qiu, Peicong Zhang, & Hao Zhong | Columbia GSAPP | DesignClassYuchen Qiu, Peicong Zhang, & Hao Zhong | Columbia GSAPP | DesignClass