Gallery: A Super Futuristic Net Zero High Speed Rail Station for Stuttg...

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 high and
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.

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  1. Holcim Awards December 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    If you liked this project you should check out the other past winners of the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction.
    This project won an award in 2006. The 2011 competition is now open to submissions. If you have a sustainable project enter it today!

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  3. Rich Lenthall September 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    An interesting topic and an interesting debate. I must though answer some of the anti-project comments above;

    – With the new through station trains will naturally halve their stop time. This is completely normal and has nothing to do with trains behind queuing up. At Dusseldorf Hbf through trains call for 2 minutes, this is half of the time for trains calling at Stuttgart Hbf.

    – With this efficiency gain you need fewer platforms as half of the platforms aren’t taken up with trains waiting to go back out on the next service to Heilbronn or Karlsruhe.

    – The whole idea of changing to a connecting service will no longer be necessary for many people, the train will pass through on to more destinations. Again this also explains the need for fewer platforms.

    – Connecting to your next service will be much easier, not, as is suggested above, more difficult. This is because a through station will have underpasses or bridges, such as at Köln Hbf or Frankfurt Flughafen Bf. This means you won’t have to walk all the way down to the front of your train, walk along the end of the station and then back up to your next service, a saving of 5 minutes for some people.

    – One of the points that is almost always ignored by anti-S21 protestors is the access time of trains to Stuttgart Hbf. Trains entering Stuttgart Hbf do so at a very slow speed. Trains slow down noticeably many kilometres outside Stuttgart wasting more journey time, and then crawl back out. This time, added to the needless reversing, means that a high speed train could have travelled over 25km.

    – Protestors also forget about people travelling from Sindelfingen, Calw, Rottweil etc. These travellers from the South of the city have to travel through the “Nordbahnhof” before arriving at Stuttgart Hbf, adding yet more time to their journey. How is that efficient?

    – A terminal station only works well when it is either at a border, a coastal town or, as in London and Paris, part of a “ring” of terminal stations which serve each geographic direction. Similar problems exist at Frankfurt. A terminal station works well only for the direction in which the tracks point.

    – Munich is also a terminal station but many of Munich’s S-Bahn trains use the through underground station, relieving the congestion on the surface main station.

    – Travelling by Ryanair is not always as cheap, nor does it deliver you to a location near to the one you wish to travel to. Getting to/from the Ryanair airport can add hours and many €’s to the cost. Just ask those Ryanair passengers who fly to “Frankfurt Hahn”! There are many High Speed rail projects being built all over Europe. Travel from city-to-city by rail for journeys up to 4 (maybe 6) hours is nearly always preferred to flying because the train needs no check in and the stations are more central. Beware the hidden cost of Lo-cost!

    – The argument about the ICE station at the airport is disingenuous. If you live in Stuttgart you won’t start your journey to the airport at the main railway station, most likely you will use the S-bahn or bus from your local stop. The idea of having a High Speed station close to the airport is so that the airport can serve the region of Baden Wurttemberg more effectively. The planners are not expecting people to take the ICE from Stuttgart to Stuttgart Airport because they know travellers don’t take the ICE from Frankfurt to Frankfurt Airport or the TGV from Paris to CDG. They are planning on you taking the ICE from Ulm or Mannheim and other regional cities.

    – These days nearly every mode of transport, including lo-cost airlines build in extra time into their schedules to prevent having to report to travellers that their trains are late and to maintain efficiency. Such is the extent of congestion in the Stuttgart Hbf area DB have added extra minutes to the journey time to prevent trains from being late. With this congestion eased by the building of the new station DB will be able to more accurately gauge the schedules. This “padding” of the schedules helps Stuttgart Hbf appear more efficient, however if the services were run to the same regulations as Dusseldorf Hbf, then Stuttgart Hbf would invariably suffer latenesses.

    – The separation of Freight trains and High Speed passenger trains is common sense. Freight trains, just like heavy lorries on the road are always slower on steep hills. With these two types of train separated the result is better for all, as capacity, efficiency and speed is improved all round.

    – Creating new land where the current station is will invariably be in high demand which will mean the price of office space or new housing in that area will be expensive. This is capitalist economics I’m afraid, not the fault of S21 project planners. Someone said recently “Only 5% of people who live in Stuttgart will be able to afford those new houses”. A response was “Only 5% of Germans can afford to live in Stuttgart!” I tend to agree.

    The main point on which I do agree with the protestors is the cost. This has to be reigned in and monitored. But as another poster commented, the whole project was passed democratically. Most of the recent protests have been the result of the media looking to stir something up for selling papers. If the costs do go up the electorate need to hold the politicians accountable, but protesting to the point where costs escalate to the delays the protests cause is self defeating and a self forfilling prophecy.

    The costs maybe expensive, but the project’s objectives are sound.

  4. Peter13 September 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    S21 was passed with democratic legitimisation some 10 years ago and there were no significant protests back then. More importantly there was no serious effort back then to block the project with democratic means – which was possible.

    Half of the people demonstrating now are either those self-declared socialists who can not miss any chance to show their discontent of any kind of authority. The other half are probably those who have good reasons to be against S21 – but that they have evolved from minority to majority in recent years is a media coup.

  5. lola rennt August 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Here are some reasons, why the project of Stuttgart21 is making people mad and protesting against it.

    – stuttgarts mainstation now is the second most punctual in germany with 16 tracks. In the future with 8 tracks and only 4 departure-platforms it is going to be crowded and trains will have to reduce their stoptime at the station to let other trains roll in. With only 8 tracks it is more difficult to catch connection-trains timewise. Experts say that the future-station seems more likely to be a chokepoint, not an improvement of schedules.

    – In South-Germany, Stuttgart is a end-destination, many ppl deboard here, therefore Stuttgart does not have to have a through-station. A terminal-station like it is now is just fine and works for Munich as well.

    – there are certainly lots of risks to dig a tunnel. stuttgarts
    rock-formation is tricky, of course its still possible to build tunnels, but it will always take more time and more costs.

    – in a tunnel the place is limited, how will they be able to expand in the future?

    – Deutsche Bahn (German Railroad Company) is calculating with a 7 Billions Budged for S21, but is rising the costs quarterly. In fact there have been many other projects of the \”Deutsche Bahn\”
    where they were not calculating correctly timewise and monetary.
    The German Federal Court of Auditors has published their forecasts for S21 to the expenses of 9 Billion Euros, which is more realistic. I assume it will increase quarter or double at the end after looking at other Railroad-Projects in Germany like Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Cologne.

    – If the trainstation is supposed to be a great thing for our
    grandchildren, how can we give them debts and compound interests at such an high amount of money?

    – yes germany is wasting money and taxes everywhere at any time, but this can not be an argument for more waste of money.

    – the costs of S21 will cannibalize other important projects for the region.

    – the plans for S21 were made more than 10 years ago. Nowadays traveling with no-frills-airlines like RyanAir/Germanwings
    became daily, cheaper and faster than traveling by train. people from paris will certainly take a plane to munich or vienna, not a train.

    – for more than 10 years there were always protests, they just have been completely ignored by politicians, which is why ppl are so mad now. For example in 2007 68.000 signatures where submitted against S21, the IG-Metall published their opinion against S21, 40.000 ppl subscribed for a referendum on

    – yes the mainstation is not so nice now and i dont have anything
    against modernization, but after years espeacially underground-stations become ugly and stinky.

    – stuttgart will not become \”the new cool\”, just because there is an underground-railstation, thats illusionary. Its people and events who create a city image.

    – the new area, if the tunnelstation is built, shall have more park and new appartments. I strongly assume, that the appartmentprices will only be affordable to
    very rich people or companies like banks and insurances. the landprice will be high so they need to build close and space-saving, which is not attractive as well.

    – the ICE will take 8 mins from the mainstation to the
    stuttgart-airport. But the new ICE-Station at the airport will be not as close at the S-Bahn-Station. so ppl have to walk longer with their luggage to the airport-terminals. there
    are only 2 ICEs per hour, S-Bahns go more frequently to the airport, and the price for the 8 mins-ICE-ride will be like 15,- Euros, instead 2,- Euros for S-Bahn.

    – the new track-route from Stuttgart to Ulm is supposed to be 26 mins faster, but years ago, when the tracks have been in better conditions, it was about the same time faster. so why not just fix the old tracks?

    – fright-trains will not be able to use the new Stuttgart-Ulm-tracks because they are too heavy for the cliffy track-route. how can that be efficient, if this is an
    important route to transport goods by train?

    – those who are in charge of S21 are the ones who will have the benefits. i have seen a list of people who are in politics and
    also on the management board of companies that execute the S21-order.

    I could state more arguments, but to sum it up, S21 to me seems to be a loss of realistic reasons for a prestigial cause. A modernization is the best way for now and the future.

  6. roy_mccoy August 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    This was a futuristic project 15 years ago stop today it´s just a pain in the ass stop if ever built it will just be for prestige reasons stop very one-dimensional report unfortunately

    Greetings from Stuttgart btw

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  8. Zettt August 27, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I want to second Enemy’s comment. Right at this very moment people are demonstrating against this stupid project.

  9. Enemy August 27, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Maybe it would be a good idea to mention the protests against this insanely expensive project.

    Greetings from Baden-Württemberg.

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