Visit: Hauptbahnhof, Berlin

As part of ongoing documentation of case studies relevant to my design thesis, a visit to the Hauptbahnhof station in Berlin was a no-brainer whilst in the city. The scale and complexity of the station is extraordinary and provides a perfect example of an architecture that is more than just a station but is also a democratic space where on the inside people from differing backgrounds mix in transit. In contrast to airports, there is an importance to the exterior and interior of the railway station; the exterior as a sign of entry and departure and interiors that are accessible to everybody.

Although stations are frequently now becoming more akin to shopping malls as a result of commercialisation, this one overlaps these elements in a way that the transport and tranist always seems to remain the primary focus. From standing on one side of the station a train could be travelling above and below you simultaneously, and in divergent directions. This differs quite significantly from the UK experience where in London where separate stations services certain parts of the country.

Below are a series of photographs that I took inside the station documenting the complexity and layering of the station. The transport case studies I am continuing to document will hopefully be a tool to explore how I could begin to incorporate the train station in my chosen site into the proposed parliament design through an understanding of the station as a public and democratic space.

 Cutaway of the station showing the multi-level tracks with the two office blocks cutting through the station (Source: Berliner Zeitung)

Cutaway of the station showing the multi-level tracks with the two office blocks cutting through the station (Source: Berliner Zeitung)

Above: Initial sketch and model by Architekten von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (Source: GMP)

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Tom Ardron