ZOB, Central Bus Station

Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.

The city of Pforzheim, located in the Northern Black Forest in Germany, is carrying out sucessive changes to public areas surrounnding its main railway atation, in order to make the space more attractive to pedestrians.
An essential component of the areas reconfiguration is the new bus station, which features a total of 30 platforms housed under an elegant and prominent roof.
The roofscape of the new central bus station provides form to the hitherto shapeless area between the railway station and overpass, generating a new hub for modern mobility in a high-quality urban space. Instead of a monotone sequence of roofed walkways, an urban space has emerged as a real “place” with a high recognition value. Situated a suitable distance from the central railway station, the new central bus station presents itself as an extension to the historical building – a concise urban marker that gives form to the unsociable area to the east of the railway station building.
Roofing concept
The 1950s formal language of the historical railway station building is augmented with modern design. The rolling edges of the roof segments are inspired by the radii and loops typical of vehicle movement; the central bus station thus visibly manifests itself as a dynamic element in the traffic landscape of which it forms an integral part. Openings above the traffic lanes allow light and sunshine to stream through to the bus stops, whilst providing structure to the views from below and creating an interesting spatial experience through the organically evolving play of shadows.
Elements organised in a linear fashion form a compact summary of the central bus station’s necessary functions (information signs, time display, passenger information system and seating areas). They are small and easy-to-find islands of function – “places” rather than merely scattered individual elements. This achieves optical clarity, orientation and overview, enabling passengers to locate bus stops quickly and with certainty.

Photos by Zooey Braun