World-class architecture in Brno: Dutch architects Benthem Crouwel won the international competition for the new main train station

Published: 21. 7. 2021

All is decided – the new Brno Main Train Station will be based on the proposal of the Dutch studio Benthem Crouwel Architects, which designed the train station in Rotterdam or the renovation and completion of the train station in Amsterdam. The winning team’s project will turn the station into Brno’s new gateway and a cornerstone for the emerging Trnitá district on the bank of Svratka River. The people of Brno will get a modern interchange hub and a guarantee of further development of the local railway transport. The decision of the expert jury, which included the architect Eva Jiřičná or the urban planner Peter Gero, was confirmed this week by the City of Brno and the Railway Administration. As the organiser of the competition, the Brno City Chief Architect’s Office will exhibit all the proposals, including a large model of the new district, in the cloister of the Brno New Town Hall at the end of September.

World-class architecture in Brno: Dutch architects Benthem Crouwel won the international competition for the new main train station

The award-winning main train stations in Rotterdam, Amsterdam or The Hague are all connected by their author – the Benthem Crouwel Architects studio. “The authors of the winning proposal will play a supervisory role in the processing of the project documentation for the new building. They will guarantee that, when completed, the new train station will not only be the pride of South Moravia, but also a place the passengers will be able to truly enjoy. The new main train station building is currently expected to be completed sometime between 2032 and 2035, when a part of the new Trnitá district will be completed as well,” says Mojmír Nejezchleb, Deputy Director General for Rail Modernisation from the Railway Administration.

Smooth integration into the city network and improved public life in the new district, comfortability and ease of use with excellent interchange options and a presentable building that strengthens Brno’s identity. This is how the winners of the international competition from the Benthem Crouwel Architects studio imagine the new main train station in Brno.

“In the jury’s eyes, the winning proposal combines the heritage of historic public buildings with the idea of a modern interchange hub and quality public space. It emphasizes the genius loci of Brno and carefully solves the practical functioning of the new station building and its surroundings,” adds the city architect Michal Sedláček, who also sat on the expert jury. “In addition, during the competition, we recommended that some parts of the proposal be further refined, so that the result will be even better in line with the current strict requirements for the new station building,” he adds.

“I am very pleased with the cooperation between the City of Brno and the Railway Administration on this key project,” appreciates Markéta Vaňková, the mayor of Brno, and emphasises: “The modernised heart of the Brno railway junction in its new location by the Svratka River will significantly affect the city’s further development. The network of tracks will be simplified, thus removing barriers and freeing up large areas in the city centre for parks, recreation facilities and housing. The historic railway viaduct will become an esplanade between the city centre and the transformed waterfront. The new station will be surrounded on both sides by high-quality public space and connected to the city centre by a new tree-lined boulevard and a tram line.”

First Deputy Mayor Petr Hladík mentions other benefits of the new station: “One of the goals of the new station is to enable fast interchange between trains, buses and urban public transport in one place. This also means creating favourable conditions for the planned high-speed railway in the direction of Prague, Ostrava and Vienna. At the same time, comfort for pedestrians and cyclists, passengers and the station’s new neighbours is of essential importance.

Today, the railway junction in Brno no longer suffices in terms of capacity or technology and its modernisation is necessary. Without it, Brno would remain stuck in the last century, when the last substantial change took place as the freight through route was built here. Brno prepared the construction of the new relocated train station several times, but the plans have repeatedly been stopped by unfavourable circumstances such as the Great Depression, the Second World War or the occupation in 1968. “Demands for railway transport are significantly different than 180 years ago. Therefore, Brno deserves an investment in its future and the presented results of the international competition clearly show that the city will have the most modern train station in Europe,” said Deputy Mayor Tomáš Koláčný.

The new main train station is the most important part of the modernisation of the Brno railway junction. Its location by the river was decided on 30 May 2018 by the Central Committee of the Ministry of Transport. Earlier that year, it was chosen by the representatives of the City and the Region. The modernisation of the Brno-Židenice train station is also being prepared at the moment, which will move it closer to urban public transport and create a new terminal in Brno’s Černovice district on Olomoucká Street.

“The international urban transport architectural competition for the design of the New Brno Main Train Station was announced on 31 August 2020 and the jury decided on the winning proposals at a two-day meeting on 1 and 2 July 2021. It was the largest architectural competition in the history of the Czech Republic; the competitors were tasked with designing a station building, including a complete solution of adjacent public spaces, buildings for administration, housing and civic facilities, bus station, urban public transport terminal and pedestrian connection,” reminded Filip Chvátal, Councillor for Land-Use Planning and Development.

It was a two-phase restricted competition. A total of twelve teams participated in the first phase. Three were invited directly, the other nine were selected by an expert jury from forty-six submitted applications and portfolios of architects. Among them were, for example, the authors of stations in Vienna, Berlin, Rotterdam, The Hague, Bologna, London or Birmingham. In the first phase, twelve competitors prepared their competition proposals. Four of them were selected for the second phase of the competition, where they worked them out in more detail. The competition was organised by Brno City Chief Architect’s Office and the City of Brno and the Railway Administration were its joint contracting authorities.

The public will be able to see all the proposals from both phases of the competition at the exhibition in the cloister of the Brno New Town Hall. The exhibition will take place on 30 September 2021 with the participation of the winning team. A large model of the new Trnitá district will also be exhibited, which was used by the expert jury in the evaluation. The competition models of individual teams with the designed buildings and adjoining public spaces were inserted directly into the model.

Brno New Main Train Station – International urban transport architectural two-phase restricted project competition:

1st prize

Benthem Crouwel International B.V.

Daniel Jongtien, Martin Biewenga and Jan Benthem

2nd prize

Sdružení Pelčák a partner architekti – Müller Reimann Architekten

3rd prize

ingenhoven architects GmbH, Architektonická kancelář Burian-Křivinka, architekti Koleček-Jura

4th prize

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group + A8000 s.r.o.

All proposals can be found at https://kambrno.com/competitions/brno-new-main-train-station/

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