Originally designed back in 2007, Main Station Stuttgart, was already incredibly forward thinking in terms of sustainability and green transportation. Back then, Stuttgart and Deutsche Bahn held a competition to design a new station that could accommodate high speed rail, and the grand prize was taken by Ingenhoven Architects, whose design turned the tracks 90 degrees and place them underground in order to create a massive new park in the city center. As for sustainability, huge skylights and light wells pump natural daylighting down onto the subterranean tracks, and with the use of photovoltaics on a nearby building, the whole complex is virtually net zero.
Stuttgart, an important city in the European network, was hampered by its end of the rail line station, which only had one way in and out. The new station turns the tracks perpendicular to the old, so trains can pass through instead of having to back out, which is critical in order for high speed rail to work efficiently. The station is currently under development and is expected to be completed by 2016.
The old station also took up some incredibly important real estate in the city center and cluttered it with train tracks, but the new station will push the tracks 12 meters below the surface and open up the space for a 42,000 sq meter public park. The new urban park will also extend into the adjacent “Schlossgarten” or castle gardens, which act as the city’s lungs to provide the leisure and fresh air.
On the roof large, circular “light eyes” will serve as skylights down into the station below and operable windows in conjunction with ventilation tubes will eliminate the need for mechanical ventilation. The use of natural daylighting and ventilation minimizes energy needs for the station and additional lighting will be energy efficient and be provided for via a photovoltaic system on the existing northern station building. Concrete is used to construct the underground station and is painted in light colors in order to reflect natural light during the day.
Just to reiterate, this whole project was designed in 1997, long before some of us were even thinking about sustainable architecture, so the concept of light wells and ventilation tubes was really quite innovative. Main Station Stuttgart is part of a large rail redevelopment project, called Stuttgart 21, which includes restructuring the rail node in Stuttgart and constructing a high speed rail line Wendlingen and Ulm and linking it with other major European HSR nodes. This project also received a Gold Global Holcim Award in 2006.