BIG unveils transport hub for Västerås, Sweden

BIG unveils transport hub for one of Sweden's biggest cities

The Västerås Travel Center by Bjarke Ingel's firm BIG will bring together trains, buses, taxis and bicycles as part of an ambitious redevelopment plan for the city's main railway station (+ slideshow).

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

Already under construction, the 12,000-square-metre transport centre designed by the Danish architecture studio will occupy a site in the middle of Västerås, central Sweden, around the existing train station.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

Part of a wider redevelopment scheme called 3B – Build Away the Barriers, the project aims to make the station feel more integrated into the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

It will connect the areas on either side of the tracks, which currently divide the city, under a thin golden roof with a hollow centre.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

Beneath this shelter, bus stops and cycle paths will be mixed with pedestrian areas arranged around bridges at either end of the station.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

"Like a continuous thin sheet, the roof is gently lifted at its four corners, wrapping the city's vehicular infrastructure in multiple layers of public program and urban spaces," said a statement from BIG.

"These four corners create welcoming entrance points, inviting travellers and visitors inside."

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

Two sweeping platforms with glass balustrades will rise up to form elevated plazas that merge into bridges over the railway tracks, providing new access routes to the train platforms.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

Additional ramps will provide cycle paths up from street level, and areas underneath the plazas will be enclosed with glazed walls to create a transparent boundary for the station.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

These glazed sections will merge with the double-height curving glass structure that occupies the central part of each bridge, providing two storeys of indoor space for cafes, restaurants and shops.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG

"The existing rail station divides Västerås – with train tracks bisecting neighbourhoods of the city it serves rather than linking them together," said BIG.

"Rather than becoming an infrastructural node for public transportation, the new Västerås Travel Center is shaped by the flow of people and public life, turning infrastructural necessities into opportunities for social interaction."

Västerås Travel Center by BIG
Location plan

The transport centre is one of several large urban projects BIG is currently working on in Europe and the US. The firm has recently been slated to replace Foster + Partners on the final tower for New York's World Trade Centre site, and is also working with British designer Thomas Heatherwick on Google's new headquarters in California.

Projects in Europe include the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant in Copenhagen, which features a ski slope on its roof and a smoke-ring-blowing chimney.

Västerås Travel Center by BIG
Diagram one – click for larger image
Västerås Travel Center by BIG
Diagram two – click for larger image
Västerås Travel Center by BIG
Diagram three – click for larger image
Västerås Travel Center by BIG
Diagram four – click for larger image
Västerås Travel Center by BIG
Diagram five – click for larger image