Falling as it does into the “IGP” category of buildings, or immeuble à grande profondeur, building of significant depth, the new metro station in Rennes poses a challenge to the city’s image. Its underground space can be “a sixth architectural façade,” a hidden façade whose display would be interesting. At the start, we wanted to define for ourselves what a metro station is: it acts as a marker along the metro line’s trajectory, an easily accessible public space with simple and fluid pathways, clear and intelligible signage.
Our project, addressing the metro station stop “Gare (Train station) – Line B” in Rennes, attempts to render concrete and visible this new conception of the metro’s urban significance by concentrating on intelligibility and on the quality of the station’s space. The complexity of a work, whether architectural or technical, creates within the user a certain difficulty in comprehending, grasping, or analyzing his or her encounter with it. While complexity most often arises from a certain rigor and a high degree of organization, if manifested in confusion, not to say in chaos, it fails, after analysis, to explicitly express its idea, or a clear line.
Architecture has changed little over time and it remains essential for the architect to introduce into complex projects ideas that are universal, simple, and clear. For this project, a metro station which has the added characteristic of constituting the nodal point between the main train station, the A metro line, and the future B metro line, we first reviewed all the proposed and possible combinations of links and circulatory pathways in regards their feasibility, coming to rely in our conception upon three distinct ideas:
– the reorganization of the flow of passengers: stairways and escalators that will give priority to, and render more explicitly visible, the links between lines A and B.
– the articulation of the central space’s full height: a principal element in creating an unbroken perception of the station’s entirety, visually linking the platforms and the ticket desk.
– the implementation of a peripheral structure, with a thickness of around 3.9m between the atrium and the civil engineering’s deep box, reinforcing the latter with a view to limiting or even eliminating completely the need for braces, as well as serving as a space for technical galleries.
Intelligibility in our project, with its two principal spaces, the space external to the atrium and the central guiding space within the atrium, is the result of thorough organization and prioritization in the treatment of surfaces. Between the level of the ticket desk and the footbridge that links the station with line A, passengers are invited to take in the atrium around them. Once they have come to this transversal footbridge, the choice of their direction, whether towards the platforms of line B, or towards the linking pathway to line A, is clearly before them.Location: Rennes, France Architects: Atelier Zündel & Cristea
Completion expected: 2015
Associate architects: Architram
Program: Rennes metro station