Perth’s new metro line turns stations into museums

The three stops on Perth’s new Metronet Forrestfield-Airport Link will be transformed into cultural centres for shows and exhibitions

Two thousand kilometres. The nearest city to Perth is Adelaide, which is 2,153 kilometres (1,337 miles) away, to be precise. This distance makes Perth the most isolated city in the world. Sydney is even farther away from it: 3,291 kilometres (2,044 miles). Once you arrive in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, you feel a sense of conquest. All around is either the Indian Ocean, or a huge expanse of uninhabited grasslands and the arid areas of the Outback. Western Australia, with its 2.5 million square kilometres of land area, has 2.6 million inhabitants, nearly 2.3 million are in urban areas. Beyond, there are more kangaroos and koalas than people.

Arriving in the city, Perth greets visitors with a delightful landscape, mixed with greenery, an orderly complex of houses and skyscrapers. The city, however, suffers from frequent traffic congestion between the city centre, known as the CBD (Central Business District), with the growing number of suburbs, as well as with the international airport, which is the only gateway to Western Australia.

Perth’s Airport Link: modernity and tradition for train stops

Perth residents have therefore put mobility at the top of the city’s to-do list, and the municipal government has responded by investing in the most important project in its history: the Metronet Forrestfield-Airport Link. The Webuild Group and a local partner are completing the construction of the Airport Link, which will run along an 8.5-kilometre (5.2 mile) rail line. Eight kilometres will be underground and have three stations: the Airport Central Station at the airport terminal, and Redcliffe and High Wycombe serving neighbouring suburbs.

A blend of modernity and tradition are the design guidelines for the three stations. The goal is to make them a gateway to Perth that is both innovative and respectful of the origins, including a celebration of the art of Aboriginal culture. The stations and their access routes will become permanent art exhibits, with contemporary paintings and abstract figures that reflect the local surroundings and draw the attention of an expected 20,000 passengers every day.

Three stations designed as open-air museums

The Western Australian government, along with the company operating the new rail line, invited artists to submit ideas and designs, and the selection will be announced at the opening of Airport Link, expected in the coming months.

In the meantime, some works can be seen at both Airport Central and Redcliffe, where colourful aluminum branches and leaves testify to the area’s agricultural roots. Passengers will be able to see this colourful and organic display inside the elegant stations, whose design follows an architectural criteria to make a strong visual impact as if they were works of art themselves, such as the earth-red-coloured roof of the High Wycombe Station. After all, Webuild is no stranger to public transport stations that become points of interest for tourists, such as the 17 colourful Cityringen metro stations in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Airport Link has entered the finishing phase, covering both interiors and exteriors. Much care has been given to the flower beds along the facade of the central station, where large Australian “Snow Queen” eucalyptus trees will dominate the area along with other native plants, such as banksias and kangaroo paws. Inside, the airport hub’s beautiful atrium will display the works of local artists with suspended installations suggesting birds in flight that shimmer during the movement caused by air flows within the building.