Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects

Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects

Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade

Text description provided by the architects. An open, contemporary entree to the city – this is the image projected by the transformed Central Station, with an attractive new plaza that shapes visitors’ first impressions of Chemnitz. The former station concourse from the 1970s was stripped down to its supporting structure and ostentatiously opened up to the surrounding cityscape. The result is a fluid public space sheltered beneath an “urban canopy” and extending beyond the concourse to link what was once a contained space with its urban setting.

Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects - Interior Photography
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The impulse leading to the thorough redesign and reorganization of the station was the restructuring of the railway network (which discontinued Intercity services in 2006). The new “Chemnitz model” strengthens regional rail traffic by linking the city trams with the regional railway network beyond. The required conversion of the Central Station provided a welcome opportunity to make better use of its potential while giving the city a new focal point.

Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects - Interior Photography, Windows
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The section of the station perpendicular to the platforms was dismantled and the level of the first four tracks lowered, allowing the public trams to continue directly into the concourse, which now opens generously to the city. Thanks to a new switching system, the trams can switch directly from the central station to the DB network, eliminating the need for passengers to change trains. Inside the concourse, the internal façade is made of fabric-covered metal frames which are arranged similarly to the external elements in a staggered pattern.

Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects - Image 7 of 15

Daylight penetrates deep into the concourse through the transparent textile skin, revealing the pattern of the supporting structure while opening up a welcoming vista into the city for visitors arriving at the station. A contrast is formed by the underside of the façade, which is made up of diamond-shaped elements in polished black stainless steel that cast multifaceted reflections of the lively circulation through the station. This surface is somewhat tilted along the longitudinal platform so that it mirrors the new waiting area with its trees and green seating pedestals into the depth of the concourse.

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The new building is sheathed in frosted pneumatic ETFE membrane cushions in varying sizes. Seen from the city, the sculptural curves and reflective foil surfaces of the gas-filled cushions create the appearance of a closed volume. During the day, the cushions create an opaque appearance with a depth effect, so that the struts of the supporting steel structure remain concealed. As dusk falls, the façade is artistically illuminated with moving light patterns. The media façade emits moderate light signals into the urban space and marks the station from afar as a place of movement, while a warm light invites people into the square as a place of encounter under the city canopy.

Chemnitz Main Station / Grüntuch Ernst Architects - Exterior Photography, Facade

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