Preserving the past to safeguard the future
Deutsche Bahn AG Station and Service
Foster + Partners
Services provided by Buro Happold
Dresden Station is one of the largest stations in Germany, acting as one of two main transport hubs for the city. The late 19th century station, originally completed in 1898, links Dresden to Berlin and Prague.
Damage during wartime and neglect in the years following forced the station into a state of disrepair. However in 1997 a redevelopment programme was established and the beautiful renovation of Dresden Station was completed in 2006.
The real challenge was to protect the delicate 19th Century filigree steelwork that made up the roof. Much of this was unsafe and degraded due to the years of disregard and poorly completed repair works. Firstly we needed to strip back what was left, uncovering the existing arches and foundations and devising a way of covering the roof to maintain and increase its longevity while not blocking out light or creating an imposing, dark space. Protecting the roof from the elements required some lateral thinking as glass was precluded due to modern glazing standards. The task was to bring the station back to its former glory, while making it fit for 21st century living.
The 30,000m² roof required careful handling; our solution was to use a fabric membrane to cover the area. The membrane rests comfortably on the original arches, loads are transferred from the membrane in the structure to the brace end trusses, relieving the pressure on the ageing steels and providing stability across the whole structure. Choosing fabric also allowed natural daylight to flood the station and reveal the intricate structure.
By restoring the station’s steelwork and removing unsympathetic additions that had accumulated over the years, Dresden has once again become an energetic and exciting place for travellers – whether they are passing through or residents of the city. The operators have also seen superb savings on artificial lighting as the membrane reflects lights evenly throughout the halls making the station feel safe through the day and into the night. What was a sad, decaying relic has now become a place loved by locals and visitors alike.