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D-Solingen Railroad Stations Solingen Mitte and Grünewald
The city of Solingen is known for its manufacture of scissors and knives. The growth of the metal goods industry in Solingen already began in 1794 when scissor-making rights and privileges were granted. Only seventeen years later, Johann Abraham Gottlieb Fries patented the manufacture of crucible steel in Solingen.

Having experienced rapid growth during industrialization, the city of Solingen today is a conglomerate of small interconnected settlement cores. Five cities were joined in 1929 to make up the larger city of Solingen. Many different transport routes were built between these centers. Till today, the six trolleybus lines have remained a characteristic feature of the city. Solingen can boast of two unique historical traffic infrastructure monuments: the now defunct trolleybus hub in the district of Burg, and the Müngstener Bridge which is Germany’s highest railroad bridge. The city was connected to the railroad network in 1867, and only twenty years later, the so-called “corkscrew railroad,” appropriately named on account of its winding tracks running through the hilly Bergische Land, was also inaugurated. The first electric tram began to operate in Solingen in 1897, only replaced in 1952 by a trolleybus service.

In a city like Solingen that has brought together various cities through municipal territorial reform and the extension of the urban area, the design of public transport buildings can play a decisive role for the process of defining an urban identity. This is also what
ASTOC’s design for two railroad stations aims to exemplify. Ever since Solingen’s central station was shut down following the “Regionale 2006” event, transforming it into the “Forum for Product Design”, the Solingen-Ohligs station was temporarily called the new “central station.” The former central station has now been replaced by the new stops at Solingen-Grünewald and Solingen-Mitte. They link the trolleybus network with the commuter train network Rhein-Ruhr.

The bus and railroad station Grünewald has become the new gateway to the city. As in the other station, its distinctive metal roof serves as a landmark within the city. The connecting station lies directly adjacent to the premises of the Zwilling company, arguably Solingen’s most famous employer. The new station serves as an urban landmark in both directions.

The organic shape of the station at Mitte is derived entirely from the surrounding traffic flows. It lies nestled between two bridges, hovering above a railroad track, providing a weather-protected walkway for transit passengers along three tangential traffic routes.

For the architects, it appeared logical to use metal as the primary material for the two stations in a city long-shaped by the metal processing industry. Still, the buildings don’t appear weighty. The light expanded metal hoods are a distinctive feature and help to define and upgrade the surrounding public space. In direct sunlight, their surfaces create charming reflexes and reflections on the sidewalk.

Both stations link the street level with a lower-lying level, providing easily usable and recognizable route connections. A character- istic shape, convenient usability and a high degree of functionality were equally important for the planners. Finally, the design of urban infrastructure represents one of the most significant opportunities for design-based interventions in the city, helping to make public transport networks even more attractive.

Awards:
2007 "Renault Traffic Future Award"
2009 Verzinkerpreis, Recognition

Photographer: Geodaten © Stadt Solingen, Der Oberbürgermeister, Stadtdienst Vermessung und Kataster / Günter Lintl, Wuppertal

PROJECT INFORMATION
Client
Stadt Solingen, represented by Stadtdienst Planung, Mobilität, Denkmalpflege und TBSG

Planning and Realisation
Competition 2002, First Prize
Planning 2002-2003
Realization 2006-2007

Dimensions
Station Mitte 3.600 sqm

Employees
Niels Frerichmann, Lena Hocke, Norbert Philippen, Jörg Schatzmann, Ansgar Schmidt, Bernhard Schumann, Ulrich Weingärtner

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