ZGW 02 - 01 - 2010

The many train stations used throughout Europe served as precedent studies for my hometown studio which is to redesign the Indianapolis Union Station. The diagram shows the new terminal for the high speed trains in Avignon, France and the sketch is of the station in Barcelona, Spain. Both stations have positives and negatives to consider in my design. The Barcelona terminal is located within the city. The main drop-off and pick-up space is directly off a main street which could cause traffic issues. However, its central location does make an easy connection with the local transit system. This station does have the benefit of a factor I have no control over, track layout. It was designed as a dead-end station where there are no through tracks. Trains pull in and out from the same direction. The large iron vaults over the tracks is the typical association with train stations. However, the brief lobby before hitting the track platform leaves no room to sit or wait as an individual or in a group of forty. The Avignon station is very different. It is located outside the city which gives it ample room for parking and pick-up/drop-offs. A special bus line is required to reach the terminal but it is still connected with the local transit system. The station has all through tracks similar to those in Indianapolis, however, the flexibility of unlimited space pushed the design to the side of the tracks. The platforms for the trains is not covered and the tour guide noted that in the winter it is almost unbearable at times to wait for a train. The lobby space provides sufficient waiting space for long periods of time, but a traveler must still be on the platform ready minutes before the train's arrival time. Some basic ideas pulled from comparing these two stations is to consider the user first. There must be room to sit and wait in small parties and large groups. The seating must be environmentally controlled, a problem encountered in Seville, Spain. The platform is generally considered a pass through space so it is not critical that it be at a perfect room temperature, but it is still best to keep the basic elements of wind and precipitation off the users. For function, there should be a distinct separation between the track area and the casual waiting area. Even if not required now, security points should be considered in the design for how they will affect movement through the various phases of boarding a train. Certain allotments such as the dead-end terminal in Barcelona and the unlimited space in Avignon would ease the design, but the issues of how the more complicated systems are dealt with effectively still require exploration.

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