Stuttgart 21 Central Station

Stuttgart, Germany. Stuttgart 21 is one of the hottest topics in Germany right now. Visualization of the much debated Stuttgart 21 project which plans for the partial demolition of the old railway station which has architectural significance (a sensitive issue) and the construction of a new futuristic railway station with a rapid railway connection to other countries and plenty of new commercial space.

The Stuttgart 21 project aimed at reorganising the Stuttgart railway junction represents the fulfilment of one of Germany's greatest urban redevelopment planning projects in the last half a century. This will lead to a major rearrangement of Stuttgart 's city center. Although the proposed new railway station (designed by Ingenhoven Architekten) is breathtakingly beautiful with wonderful space age organic curves, Germans equally love their old railway station (designed by Paul Bonatz) there is lots of opposition. Hopefully there can be a compromise which makes everyone happy.

Paul Bonatz's original railway station in Stuttgart

After more than 15 years of planning, the way is now open for the Stuttgart-Ulm railway project. The Federal Government, the state of Baden-Württemberg, the state capital of Stuttgart and the Verband Region Stuttgart have reached an agreement with the Deutsche Bahn AG over the joint funding of the venture. Plans can at last be realized for the almost 90-km-long high-speed rail link between Stuttgart and Ulm, and for Stuttgart`s new railway junction with its new through railway station. The future stretch of track over the Swabian Alb follows the route of the A8 federal motorway, and the new station "Flughafen/Messe" will connect Stuttgart Airport and the state Trade Fair Centre to the high-speed railway network of the Deutsche Bahn.

The Stuttgart 21 project represents the most important development project in the metropolitan region of Stuttgart for the next 20 years. With an investment volume of some 5.1 billion euros for the railway infrastructure, it will eliminate the main bottleneck of the European West-East axis from Paris to Bratislava and Budapest, bringing Europe`s cities closer together. Stuttgart will strengthen its central position in the long-distance travel network and become the new heart of Europe. In future the journey from Stuttgart to Vienna, for example, will take less than five hours. Long-distance travel within the Federal Republic will also become faster and more convenient. Munich will be only about 90 minutes away, while Ulm can be reached in only 28 minutes - half the present time.

The redevelopment of the Stuttgart railway junction will also benefit the environment. Scientific surveys show that Stuttgart 21 will enable more than 18 million car journeys annually - some 350 million kilometers by car - to be transferred from the roads to the railway, thus sparing the environment 70 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

An increase in mobility also means increased demands on the railway network. The hub of the Stuttgart 21 project is therefore the new through railway station. The flexible use of its eight tracks will make it considerably more efficient than the present terminus station. Long-distance and regional traffic alike will profit from the new station because coordination will be improved. Connections in the regional transport network will be faster and more direct, so that in many cases it will no longer be necessary to change trains en route. Along with its large ticket hall, tower and arcades, the present Bonatz Building, listed as a historical monument, will be integrated as the reception area and continue to be a landmark in the urban landscape of the Arnulf-Klett-Platz. In order to meet the future requirements of a modern railway station it will be modernized and developed along with the underground station area in the course of building operations.

First and foremost, however, Stuttgart 21 has created completely new perspectives for the city's urban development. Instead of expanding into the open countryside, Stuttgart will have at its disposal around 100 hectares of the former track area right in the center of town. Together with the Europaviertel and Rosensteinviertel two new urban complexes will arise in the best part of the city, with attractive apartments and service facilities for over 35 000 people. This will provide a unique opportunity to realize innovative, outstanding architectural designs: the city plans to turn the Rosensteinviertel into a model district which will set new standards for the ecologically friendly architecture of the future. Its aim is to create a neighborhood which will demonstrate the exemplary use of environmentally friendly energy sources.

A prerequisite for a vibrant city center is a wide range of public facilities. The public library, as an inspiring seat of knowledge and culture, will enliven the area and encourage social contacts in a multicultural society. The library will represent far more than just a building where books and other media can be borrowed. It will be a place where culture and literature come to life and where the main focus will be on its visitors. The first sod was turned for the new library building in November 2008, and the opening is planned for the middle of 2011. In addition, a concert hall seating up to 3000 might fill a gap in the market between the Liederhalle Culture and Congress Centre and the Porsche Arena. The "Schlossgarten-Philharmonie" would provide an effective counterpart to the Bonatz Building and add interest to the Straßburger Platz. An upgrading of the well-known Linden Museum to a "Museum of the World`s Cultures" is also under consideration.

Stuttgart 21 also offers the historically unique opportunity to extend the Palace Gardens and the Rosenstein Park by 20 hectares and make them accessible from all sides as an important recreational area for Stuttgart`s citizens. Where today the vast areas of railway tracks still dissect the parks, the urban districts and green areas will once again be linked to form an attractive city landscape. Stuttgart`s "green lung" will therefore expand and will make an important contribution, with over 4200 new trees in its parks and streets, to improving the quality of the air and the urban climate in general.

Investing in the railway project will therefore pay off in many different ways. Stuttgart 21 will improve the quality of life in the city and create opportunities for the future, from which both its present inhabitants and future generations will profit. But financially, too, the project is a good investment from the point of view of long-term additional revenue for the city.

You can read more about the history of the original railway station at:

And the new proposal by Ingenhoven Architekten: