New design for repositioned underground tram station opens up space for public plaza
In order to cope with the increasing numbers of passengers at Graz Central Station and to reorganise the surrounding traffic, the existing tram connection at the front of the station is to be moved underground. This will increase usage and make the surface and pedestrian network more attractive. The large number of connections with public transport from the urban city and surrounding regions has presented the opportunity to develop a multifunctional inner-city centre with the central station as its focus, communicating urbanity and making stopping here a pleasure.
The client's goals of reorganising the tram lines are to improve the connection between tram, bus and train lines, relieving the traffic on nearby intersections, plus the creation of an attractive plaza and approach to the station. The new design provides improved pedestrian connections and offers good cycle path access with sufficient bicycle parking, as well as developing inviting green areas to spend time in and recuperate and the creation of attractive sheltered waiting areas in the open air were all successfully implemented.
The new underground tram station is open above the track area and in this way a naturally illuminated and ventilated space with a comfortable atmosphere is created. With their curved and structured surfaces, the station spaces seem as though 'cut' from the earth, the cuts in turn continuing on the surfaces.
The new station provides the opportunity to adapt the heterogeneous image of the station forecourt and the unsatisfactory route layout. The roofing of the forecourt is the most significant element – an oval, ring-shaped disk, which forms a sheltered ring between the station concourse and the bus stops. The station's striped pattern continues at the forecourt level and gradually changes in different zones into differently designed green areas. This project will result in improved cycle route access and new bike parking shelters in front of the station. The redesign of the forecourt is not simply based on the actual needs of the pedestrians – namely short routes to their destinations – but also the safety and attractiveness of their stop has been increased.