Frankfurt’s heavily used local train line, the U5, between the city centre and the suburb of Preungesheim is being upgraded to provide better access, but one its highlights is an architectural feature–at “Glauburgstrasse”–that is the result of a design-and-build competition organised by VGF, Frankfurt’s public transport company.
The design, which takes cues from the surrounding urban environment, and the idea that was developed goes beyond simply providing a platform and shelter for the waiting passengers.
Separated functionally from the actual roadway, the offset platforms–for inbound and outbound trains–open up to the immediate environment: Steps and ramps unfold from the narrow confines to create an urban landscape. Supporting this, the platforms with their subtle layering continue the surfacing of the pavement; green spaces and a tactile directional system further enhance the user experience. The unbroken, flowing transitions at this stop culminate in the slender canopies sheltering the waiting passengers.
Image copyright: Kirsten Bucher
With triangular folding on the outer envelope of coated steel sheet, the steel frame works like two funnels raised up on stilts. The folded roof surfaces direct the rainwater down inside the columns, and a panel of safety glass behind the seats provides additional protection from the elements.
The design dispenses with the conventional vision of a shelter with a front and a back, and instead it fulfills its function with a sculpture-like presence that has both identity and high visibility. Accessible from all sides, this distinctive new urban feature becomes part of the public space – the stop, the pavements and the immediate environment become a single entity.
The architects on the project were: Just/Burgeff