Strasbourg Train Station Extension

The last project is an extension of the old train station in Strasbourg, again with the help of the SNCF's in-house architectural department and of Matthias Schuller's team in Stuttgart. Trains stop one level above the access level, while public transportation runs 15 m below ground. A link is required in front of the station, between the street level and the underground tram. However, the station is one of the urban features of the city and the new building extension should not hide it. Therefore the project seeks to maintain the historical presence of the train station, to link the various points of access to the various modes of transportation and to provide proper shelter in all possible climates.

9.11

The proposed extension of the train station in Strasbourg, France (2003-07), architect and engineer RFR Consulting Engineers.

The initial answer, a glass bubble along the south side of the station (figure 9.11), had to be considerably refined in view of the first thermal simulations. The skin of the building, a filter for solar energy and heat, dominates the design so much that the work focused first on resolving questions related to the behavior of the skin before tackling its supporting structure. Two questions arose. First, how can the geometry be resolved rationally to match objectives of space, shape and form? Generations by translation and rotation are being tested now. Second, what strategy would provide climatic comfort with a minimum expenditure of energy?

Various simulations have shown that only a combination of elements, adjusted to their orientation on the surface of the bubble, will let the skin shed

9.12

Section through the proposed extension of the Strasbourg train station.

9.12

Section through the proposed extension of the Strasbourg train station.

Glass Solar Energy Architecture

most of the incoming energy. The weather barrier is made of a glass combining a good heat mirror, ceramic frit screening, low-emission coatings, and something similar to a temporary double skin. A low-emission curtain drawn inside the glass bubble contains the heat at the surface of the glass and conducts it to the top of the building where it escapes through openings.

The most interesting discovery of this project was the unexpected opportunity offered by the tunnel dug under the station. Strasbourg is built along the River Rhine and the tunnel bathes in its waters, effectively turning it into a giant cooling system (figure 9.12). By carefully designing the building to help pull in more air than would come out naturally from the tunnel (and by adding a couple of simple, low-energy devices like a radiant slab, itself drawing from the water table), it is possible to make the space under this very large south facing glass wall comfortable in summer, almost exclusively through passive means. Now that the composition of the skin is known, we will design a structure that works with it. Again, the nature of the skin drives the organization of the structure and the nature of the skin is determined as much by optical criteria as by thermal ones.

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