Piotrkowska Street Tram Stop Roof

Łódź, Poland

Designed by FOROOM architects, the new Piotrkowska Street Tram Stop is a striking and elegant addition to the historical city centre of Łódź. The project was originally conceived as a steel structure, featuring an intricate geometry and incorporating a roof constructed from panels of coloured glass.

Challenge

Buro Happold was enlisted to help realise the architect’s complex vision and deliver an optimised final product. The abstract and experimental nature of the plans submitted by FOROOM presented our team with many challenges, requiring innovative engineering solutions to bring the architect’s plans to life.

Piotrkowska Tram Station transit hub
The kaleidoscopic canopy is quickly becoming one of the iconic features of the city. Image: Jan Galecki Taiyo Europe

Solution

Using our advanced understanding of sophisticated modelling techniques, we were able to create an accurate parametric 3D model of the structure. This flexible and time efficient design approach enabled our team to experiment with form and find the ideal solution to achieving the complex geometries of the design.

A significant part of the brief was to establish the most efficient material to cover the roof of the structure. We proposed the use of single layer ETFE foil instead of the glass panels originally proposed. This innovative, highly translucent fabric offers the benefit of being lighter, more operable and more cost efficient than glass.

Piotrkowska Tram Station transit hub
To realise this vision, our team introduced the idea of swapping the glazing with a lighter ETFE membrane. Image: Jan Galecki Taiyo Europe

At approximately 1% the weight of glass, ETFE foil also ensures that the integrity of the delicate structure will not be compromised by the load bearing down upon it. Another characteristic of this material is that it has a high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range, making it an ideal solution to resist Poland’s freezing winters.

Piotrkowska Tram Station transit hub
The heavy glass panels previously envisaged would have been far harder to install than the lightweight membrane. Image: Jan Galecki Taiyo Europe

Value

Our Warsaw-based team drew upon Buro Happold’s international experience, collaborating with other specialists from our offices in Bath and Los Angeles, to introduce ETFE in Poland for the first time.

The Piotrkowska Street Tram Stop is an excellent example of how complex design can be achieved with the right materials, the right tools and the right people.

Piotrkowska Tram Station transit hub
The heavy glass panels previously envisaged would have been far harder to install than the lightweight membrane. Image: Jan Galecki Taiyo Europe
Piotrkowska Tram Station transit hub
The new Piotrkowska Street tram stop canopy was imagined as an intricate steel structure featuring a technicolor glass roof. Image: Jan Galecki Taiyo Europe
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