People who exit the train station should immediately realize they are in Aarau. The spacious, open and urban station forecourt is a pleasant and bright place for all, structured by islands of light and unique materials. Like a clearing in the woods, the diaphanous air cushion roof, which is open at its center, spans over the forecourt. It protects the passing travelers beneath, but is airy enough that the waiting area does not seem like an enclosed hall.
As the central public transport hub for the entire region, the train station in Aarau serves as a point of departure, arrival and transfer for more than 40,000 train and bus travelers every day. Due to assorted small structures, street furniture, art objects and planters that had gathered over time, the station forecourt was barely still perceived as a public open space. Bahnhofstrasse, the street leading to the train station, was a spatially defining axis dominated by car traffic, thus cutting the space off from the surroundings. That is why a new station forecourt with a bus terminal and optimized public access was also envisaged along with construction of the new train station. After lengthy preparatory work in close dialogue with various interest groups, the Aarau populace approved the project with an overwhelming majority in 2009.
Tidying Up Traffic
A central bus station on the forecourt now concentrates all the buses to the south of Bahnhofstrasse. As a result, it was possible to reconfigure the traffic situation in the immediate environs. The most striking change is the relocation of the access ramp for the train station’s parking garage. Now that it has been moved to Poststrasse, it no longer cuts through the square in front of the station, thus enabling a spacious and orderly urban space.
Together with the Aarau general planner suisseplan AG, the Zurich architecture firm of Vehovar & Jauslin has drawn up a project that essentially consists of four areas: the underground Einstein Passage, the adjacent Hächler Hall, the train station forecourt and the bus station with its impressive canopy.