Gare Belval Université
The Gare Belval has around 5000 inhabitants and 20,000 daily users, making it the second largest railway station in Luxembourg and playing the role of a central connecting station between different means of transport – car, bus, train, bicycle, footpaths.
The central function of the building – the linking of mobility in its various forms – is also reflected in its architecture. The result is an elongated platform that takes up the theme of movement and seems to hover over the tracks like a caterpillar, like a centipede. The expected flow of movement, the mobility paths of the users and the resulting requirements in terms of space requirements were co-determining factors for the building form. Wider at the traffic junctions and main connections and narrower at the end points, the resulting form with its width varying between 18 and 34 metres underlines the impression of movement and dynamics of the building structure.
A special challenge for the architects and engineers as well as for the contractors was to construct the entire building including the associated infrastructure and track construction work while rail traffic continued. The resulting 120-metre-long platform, supported by 16 columns, floats about 8.20 metres above the tracks and lies protectively as a roof over the platforms. Using stairs and elevators, passengers are intuitively guided up one floor to the interior of the building, which leads to the Belval district on one side and to the bus station and the Park & Ride on the other.
From the rail and road level, the building with its sloping supports on the platforms and the curved, fair-faced concrete underside of the platform appears – despite its massiveness – as a light, floating structure. Inside the platform, the visitor is surprised by an unexpected expanse and openness. The generous glazing at both ends of the structure and the continuous band of windows at the sides create a light-flooded, friendly atmosphere in the interior, and the feeling of openness and orientation is further enhanced by the wide views of the surroundings. This gives the room a high quality of stay, makes it tangible and enables the visitor to gain a quick overview of the building with its various connecting routes and orientation points.