Graz central station, with 30,000 travellers per day, is one of the most important transport hubs in Austria, and it’s importance will be increasing further in the future. Completion of the local rail system will, at peak times, bring 40,000 passengers per day to Graz on a 15 minute cycle, from every direction. This means that the facility requires adjustments to cope with expected current and future service requirements and increase in capacity. This will require extensive building work, which is combined under the Graz Central Station 2020 project.
The design for the new roof and the platform access is by Zechner & Zechner, Vienna. They were already busy with planning for Graz station, including construction of the local transport hub on the plaza and a shopping centre.
150 Meters of Art
In the north of the station site a new pedestrian tunnel will be constructed. The new passage provides access to all platforms, but also provides a connection to the area of the city on the other side of the tracks. The impression of length of the tunnel is reduced by creating width, good artificial lighting, and, most importantly, by installing a 150m long artwork by Peter Kogler, in the form of glass cladding with large printed areas, making the passage a very special exhibition space. The art wall is a continuation of the installation in the station hall, begun in 2003, also by Peter Kogler.
The New Roof at Graz Station – the “Wave”
The platform roofs at Graz central station no longer meet current infrastructure building requirements. The roofs come from several different periods, and some were constructed as temporary measures. Additionally, the partial reconfiguring of the platforms requires that the roofs be demolished.
The architects made use of this opportunity to build a new roof that will go beyond the area of the current island platform roof and form an appealing counterpart to the already restored and extended reception building and the future projecting roof in the station plaza.
Beams with two spans of over 40m each, arch over the area between the tunnel stairs, forming a “wave”. The reduced number of supports and a height of up to 8m below the roof create a generous cover above the central area for the waiting passengers.
The arched beams, which will reach a height of 4m at the shoulders are situated in pairs. The distance between the beams will increase upwards to form a V, producing a lens shaped gap between the pairs of beams that will be used to provide illumination to the platforms and will be covered by a translucent membrane roof. The crossbeams of the roof structure run across the entire track area to provide a wide roof in the central platform area.
The roof structure, which is connected at the centre, transitions into individual, tongue shaped platform roofs in the outer areas of the platforms. This creates an overall impression that resembles a wave gradually dissipating as it spreads. The image of the “wave” acts as a symbol that emphasises the dynamic of the train as a mode of transport.