pirate train station

September 4, 2008

We’ve all heard of piracy and copyright infringement but this is honestly the oddest and most audacious story I have ever heard. In 2002, Netzwerkarchitekten of Darmstadt in Germany submitted an entry (in the first two pictures below) in a competition to design stations for the new Line 5 of the above ground metro rail system in Beijing. In January of 2003, they were informed that they had won the first prize.

Fast forward five years, and numerous attempts by the practice to contact the competition organizers and the Beijing Municipality Engineering Institute in connection with the project failed. Netzwerk have yet to see their prize money, nor official acknowledgement of the award.

So you might imagine their shock when an eagle-eyed individual spotted a station of the exact same design under construction in Beijing with the help of Google Earth:

Just before the Beijing Olympics started, the station Da Yang Fang was opened along with the rest of Line 5. With the pirated station.

This is their official statement on the matter (in German). I’m speechless, I can’t imagine what the architects must have been like!

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