Floating above a busy central square in the Swiss cantonal capital of Aarau, this large cloud-shaped structure greets and protects travellers. Organically shaped with a semi-transparent and reflective shell, the cloud-roof hovers over the main bus station protecting those underneath from real clouds overhead.
Part of the Bahnhof Aarau station building designed by Theo Hotz, the structure shelters bus passengers from the bustling rail station and roads beside it. The result is a friendly place for commuters boarding buses during the day as well as a place for night owls at midnight.
The foil cushion roof has an organically shaped opening in the center that enhances the feeling of being outdoors while being protected from the elements. The surface is clear and blue printed transparent film on slightly tilted single axis supports which are immersed in the ‘cloud’.
“If you get off at the train station, you should realise immediately that you’re in Aarau.” say the architects VJA. “The generous, open and urban station square is a comfortable, light space for all, structured by light islands and unique materials.”
“The transparent roof with a gap in the middle spans the site like a flower, sheltering the passengers but leaving enough air that it doesn’t feel like a closed building.”
Client: City of Aarau, Canton of Aargau
Services: Architecture train station square, bus terminal and pedestrian underpass east
Overall plan: Suisseplan Ingenieure + Planer, Aarau
Structural Engineering Roof: formTL, Radolfzell
Lighting: Atelier Derrer, Zurich
Traffic planning: Ballmer + Partner, Aarau
Electro planning: Hefti. Hess. Matrignoni, Aarau
Time frame: 2004-2013