ICE, by BRT

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
An ICE train halting at Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Two weeks ago, on our way back to Delft from Budapest (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) we changed trains at Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof, as the railway station is called. In short: FFF. Most of the travelers made appropriate ‘pfffff’ noises. Pfffflughafen.

The architecture of the building impressed me, mainly because of the beautiful glazed spherical roof. Additional a huge oval-shaped void provides fascinating and functional views from the main hall at level 0 and the platforms at level –2. Terrific.

Less fortunate is the lighting. On the platforms it is rather dark, in the glazed hall it is like outside. It’s very black and white, a bit too simple.

The building is designed by the Hamburg-based architects Bothe Richter Teherani (in short: BRT), and was finished in 1999. The architectural style is a familiar one: a mix Foster and Archigram. Technical glass, sheeted steel, rounded corners, and pillars that look like they are retractable.

The iconography of the building obviously refers to the InterCity Express (ICE) high-speed trains that halt at the station. A couple hundred kilometers to the west along the same railway, UN Studio is designing a station with the exact same iconography for the city of Arnhem. Being contextual as an architect often means you ‘lean’ your building to moving objects such as trains, cars, or airplanes. If they flow, you flow.

Experiencing the building felt a bit weird. A train is streamlined for functional reasons. When a building takes over that form-language it almost start to move itself. The telescopic pillars greatly enhance that image. The space gets filled with the flux of speed. I know; I exaggerate. I just like the building.

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
The platforms, Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Overview of Level 0, Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
In a greenhouse there are plants (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Star Trek sliding doors (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Curvature (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
The roof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
The roof disappears into the floor (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
The detailing of the roof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Reflectors to simulate the diffused daylight at nighttime (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Bothe Richter Teherani - Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fernbahnhof (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Pffffffffffffflughafen (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

Related: ICE, by UN Studio, Wings, by Foster, Maserati, by Future Systems, Cockpit, by ONL, Airplane, by Asymptote, Ice-skate, by Meyer & Van Schooten

The project is added to the Architects, Representation, and Top 10 pages.


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