Calatrava’s Railway Masterpiece.
To my total surprise and delight, Liege (Liège-Guillemins) has been completely transformed since my last visit in August of 1998— when I paused to change trains from Bonn, Germany to Charleroi. I remember a dreary, tired and uninspired railway station and it was this facility I was expecting.
I admit, the new station had completely escaped my notice until that moment when I got off the train last week. I must have missed the memos, the parades and fireworks that certainly must have announced the opening of such a spectacular railway facility back in September 2009.
The station largely consists of modern vaulted canopy spanning five railway platforms. Designed by prolific Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava it is constructed of steel, concrete and glass, and makes for a very positive railway experience.
The canopy softens the sun while maintaining a bright environment to watch and photograph the passage of trains. Exposures must be made carefully, because the large white structure tends to fool camera meters in the same way of a bright snowy day.
I found it necessary to overexpose (add more light) by about 2/3s of a stop above what the camera meter had recommended.
Incidentally, Calatrava also designed two Dublin bridges over the Liffey; the Joyce Bridge near Heuston Station, and the Samuel Becket Bridge in the Docklands, both of which I’ve often photographed.