The TAV Station in Florence, scheduled to open in 2010, is a welcome by-product of the Italian government’s new national high-speed rail network programme. The Foster + Partners design consists of a single large chamber, 454 by 52 metres, designed to minimize energy consumption and running cost.

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Cutting-edge features like energy-generating photovoltaic cells appear alongside classical local materials of green and white marble and a dramatic arching roof that creates an abundance of natural light but still permits effective regulation of temperature. The result is yet another example of Foster’s approach, marrying old world aesthetics and modern practicality.