HAFENCITY UNIVERSITY SUBWAY STATION
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Firms: D-Lightvision, Design Stauss Grillmeier, Pfarré Lighting Design and Raupach Architekten, all from Munich
Team: Christian Raupach, with Erwin Döring, Gerd Pfarré and Kilian Stauss
Raupach Architekten of Munich cites two elements of Hamburg’s local vernacular – the iridescent bricks used to construct many of its buildings, and the freight containers stacked in shipyards – as important starting points for the design of the Hafencity University Subway Station.
Descending from the street, travellers are met with an extraordinary kaleidoscope of colour that emanates from 12 massive light boxes suspended along the platform, which replicate the size of actual shipping containers. Weighing six tonnes each, they are framed in steel with translucent glass panels covering hundreds of internal LEDs. Lighting effects of this scale can easily morph into pulsating rock concerts, but the intention here is to create gradations that gently transition in tune with, say, the trains as they come and go, or the changing of the seasons. From the designers’ point of view, you could be listening to classical music and still appreciate the radiant space.
Pfarré Lighting Design and D-Lightvision worked with Raupach Architekten to illuminate and program the volumes, which serve as the central character of a station that in every other way takes on a sleek industrial mood. Walls and escalators are clad in reflective materials to catch the light, and glazed partitions are held in the most slender of frames.
What could have been a sterile environment, meant to be entered and exited as quickly as possible, has been transformed into a welcoming underground space worth missing a train or two to linger in.
THE FIRMS Headed up by Christian and Philipp Raupach, the mid-size studio Raupach Architeken is renowned for its intelligent design style, which integrates optimum usability and advanced sustainability. For the Hafencity project, they collaborated with Germany’s premier firms Pfarré Lighting Design and D-Lightvision along with Design Stauss Grillmeier, which engineered the light volumes.
What the jury said:
“It’s thrilling to see a space like this invested with such creativity. It shows a true understanding that there is a tangible return in beautiful infrastructure.”
– George Yabu, Yabu Pushelberg