Here's what a subway station looks like in Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah is making the trains run on time.

The King has "instructed" that Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's fast-growing capital city, build its new six-line Metro system in just four years. To compare: it took New York's MTA four years to renovate one station.

For Riyadh's biggest station, a three-way interchange in the city's financial district, the King has chosen this airy hub designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid. Its facade is designed to let in light while keeping out the harsh desert sun, while the overall shape is meant to recall wind-blown sand dunes.

We note that there's a bare-haired woman ascending the escalator in this last rendering -- a gesture of subversion from the architect's studio? Either way, King Abdullah seems to like what he sees.

All images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

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