Architects:   Collignon Architektur und Design GmbH, Berlin
Client:   Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG)
Completion:   2020
Project size:   8,000 sqm
Photos:   Frieder Blickle



Historic Building Fabric and Functional Aesthetics in the Subway Station Rotes Rathaus

In 2010, underground remains of the Red City Hall (Rotes Rathaus) from the Gothic period were found, which were to be preserved and included in the architectural concept design to a maximum extent. This led to multiple revisions of the design and ultimately to the development of a mushroom-shaped column structure based on the original ceiling vault as well as to the use of materials that are also reminiscent of the Gothic history.

The new station was designed in simple black and white colors, while polished terrazzo tiles provide an elegant appearance. The staircases are kept in dark colors to create a certain drama, which results in a radiant reception flooded with light when entering the 140-meter-long station hall. The glazed gallery connecting the two subway tracks further creates an open and bustling appearance of the station.

The initial considerations of integrating the light into the joints between the mushroom columns and the ceiling finally resulted in the strict reduction of the concept to functional downlights, because the back reflection of the focused light onto the bright floor made it possible to calculate a high amount of scattered light. Thus, by implementing a light color of 3,000 K, not only do the ceiling and walls appear bright and radiant, but additionally there is also a certain degree of brilliance and elegance that is unusual for traffic buildings.

This concept extends further to adjoining areas, such as the connecting gallery between the tracks. From there, passers-by enjoy an unusual perspective across the station, accompanied by an illumination with downlights with a wider beam spread due to the lower, single-storey ceiling height. The wide-angle perspective creates an open, clear impression of the surroundings. Only in the stairways area luminaires in the handrails were used instead of downlights to give passers-by a sense of orientation and security in the underground space.

A fantastic synergy of space and light, created by a simple concept, gives the project that certain something. The uncompromising implementation of visual stringency ultimately ensures that there is no doubt about its pure intention. All in all, the subway station has not only gained great importance for the capital in terms of transportation, but also represents an exemplary design in the cityscape’s aesthetics.


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