In 2007 I was railing my way around Benelux when I passed through Liège-Guillemins station. The station was undergoing a transformative reconstruction that looked so out of the ordinary that I knew would have to come back to see the finished work.
Before I even knew anything about the station one name sprang to mind – Calatrava. Actually it might have been one name and a few words that came to mind…OMG, Liege has a Calatrava!
Santiago Calatrava is a Spanish architect who has become something of a superstar in the architect world. He has a very distinct style of using arching white rib-like beams and columns. While each of his projects are different, his signature style makes any building he has designed as identifiable as “a Calatrava.” His latest project is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City, so yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.
As I was travelling around Europe with a Eurail pass and I happened to be in Belgium, I made a detour out to Leige to revisit the station. It was a rainy day and I have visited Leige before so I had no problem spending my time there just wandering the station. I had an hour to spare before the next train back to Brussels so I had enough time to admire this monumental structure.
[InterCity Train at Liège-Guillemins station]
[Liège-Guillemins looking up]
[Thalys fast train leaving the station]
[Stylish platform underpass]
[A monument marking the work of Calatrava on a ground plaque outside the station]
[Liège-Guillemins toy town train station (tilt-shift effect)]
I must have been to over one hundred European train stations in my life time. While most of my favourite stations are of the classic grand station variety, I would put Liège-Guillemins in my top train stations of Europe list.