Order out of chaos

Tuesday 11 Sep 2012

Space Group designs a solution to Oslo Central Station's need for expansion

The chaotic situation surrounding today's Central Station is the result of decades of just-behind-time planning and displays a lack of cohesion or flexibility to absorb the evolution of function or the city it is meant to serve. The passenger flow is projected to grow from 50 to 100 million passengers yearly within the next 20 years.

Space Group's strategy is a natural and delayed architectural response to this. The New Oslo Central Station axis neutralises the old stigmatised division between east and west and reflects the shift of public flows as the city expands east. The station becomes visible in the cityscape with a new geometrical clarity and architectural identity, defining squares and entrances on all sides.

The traditional steel structure of European train stations with the large span arches is reinterpreted using contemporary technology, answering to the challenge of constructing on complicated ground conditions above the existing train tunnel and providing a structure that gives the necessary lightness and refinement of expression.

Whereas today all types of shopping, station functions and circulation compete for space and dissolve without the experience of architectural definition - the new situation liberates and strengthens each individual architectural element with its dedicated functions and gives them all a clear connection to the station axis.

The ambition is to make the station itself a 'pure experience' - a celebration of the travel itself - prioritising easy orientation and logistic clarity and efficiency rather than a  shopping mall in disguise. The naming of 'Stasjons Alléen' literally means the Station Boulevard, an open passage through the city. The dynamic steel structure itself gives associations to the tree lined boulevard and the soft sectional transition to the existing streets and plazas allows it to connect naturally to the daily flows of the city.

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