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