In the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic is the city of Brno.
Located at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers, Brno has about 380,000 inhabitants, making it the second-largest city in the Czech Republic—after the capital, Prague—and one of the 100 largest cities of the EU.
Brno is the center of the Czech judiciary, with the seats of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, and the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, and a number of state authorities, including the Ombudsman, and the Office for the Protection of Competition.
Brno is also an important centre of higher education, with 33 faculties belonging to 13 institutes of higher education and about 89,000 students
Now, the city of Brno has announced the team of Benthem Crouwel Architects + West 8 urban design and landscape architecture as the winners of an international architecture competition to jointly design the new multimodal hub of Brno, intended to revitalize its overall urban realm and the adjacent station quarter.
The multimodal station will be the catalyst to achieve Brno’s desire to physically and mentally redevelop the new district as an integral part of the city. The winning scheme is a comprehensive solution for a multimodal transport hub including 14 platforms for highspeed and local trains, tram- and city buses, a regional bus station including 40 stops, a metro station, a bicycle and car parking.
The station building offers comfortable passenger services, facilities and has ample retail and F&B areas. The design further includes an urban development with offices, housing, hotel and high quality public space including a waterfront park and urban promenade. With a construction budget of 1,8 billion euros, the expected completion of the station is between 2032 and 2035.
Together, these Dutch firms are known for the acclaimed renovation of the Rotterdam Central Station. Benthem Crouwel has designed transit hubs such as the Amsterdam Central Station and metro, 4 metro stations in Paris, and the Silicon Valley Diridon station masterplan. West 8’s experience includes Madrid RIO, Schiphol Airport, Governors Island in New York, and the Toronto Waterfront.
The team was selected out of 46 applications, with twelve design teams including renowned offices like BIG, Diller Scofidio Renfro, OMA, Snøhetta and Ingenhoven selected to participate.
It was the largest architectural competition in the history of the Czech Republic. According to the jury the winning design combines a reference to historic public buildings with a modern intermodal hub and a high quality public space.
Creating a barrier free district, the design both weaves and embeds pedestrian routes into the urban fabric and concentrates them through high quality passages in the railway body.
The urban layout of the station district allows for an optimal layout for all modes of transportation. By putting people first, all traffic modes are safely untangled.
From the platform, a first glimpse of Brno’s cathedral is offered through the monumental arches of the station building. This composition provides a quiet backdrop in the direction of the tracks, but opens up towards the city to allow unobstructed views towards the skyline.
Passengers are guided through the central concourse, articulated by the rhythm of voids for access to the platforms, towards a pedestrian promenade which leisurely connects the station, waterfront park and new urban development to the city fabric.
A generous boulevard aligned with city blocks and workspaces follows the station to the river, where, under the railway bridge, the Svratka waterfront park continues.
The design was praised by the jury for integrating the cultural heritage of Brno with the implementation of a public welcome hall, a space between the city and train platform. The station hall offers a public interior to the inhabitants of Brno as well as organises and highlights the urban frontage of the new district. The location as a whole is marked by two diagonally positioned towers that situate the new station’s position within Brno’s silhouette.
The central concourse, with its access to the train platforms, clearly and intuitively connects to two station halls on either end of the passage. Conceived as two, covered, public squares, they house the connections to metro, bus, parking, retail and passenger services. In these halls, passengers are able to easily encounter and orientate themselves within the station via direct sightlines to the next step in their journey – be it the city or beyond.
The design for the elegant, convex glass canopy over the train platforms and bus station not only shelters passengers from rain or harsh sunshine, but simultaneously collects enough solar energy to create a net-positive station. Bio based materials such as Cross Laminated Timber are used in roofing structures and as cladding.
At the same time, by significantly reducing the length of the viaducts, the use of reinforced concrete is limited to an absolute minimum to greatly improve the carbon footprint of the station design. The environmentally aware design also integrates nature based rainwater management, the use of (filtered) daylight, natural ventilation, and low temperature floor heating and cooling based on a reversible heat pump connected to a geothermal source.
All renderings courtesy of Benthem Crouwel Architects + West 8.