A stranger is far enough away that he is unknown but close enough that it is possible to get to know him. In a society there must be a stranger. If everyone is known then there is no person that is able to bring something new to everybody.
The Stranger, Georg Simmel, 1908
While waiting for a train to arrive, everything seems disordered and random, people running from one gate to another, a passerby that goes nowhere, a person sleeping at a bench and a loud speaker that announces something that is not fully understood. Train stations not only have constituted strong landmarks for cities and villages, but they have also been places where great architecture and technologies could be experienced and implemented. Some of the first train stations ever built displayed the latest technologies of machinery, ironworks, glass and time modifications.
Train stations have also been a great source of inspiration for writers, film directors and the meandering, curious citizen. While waiting, the traveller dreamt, imagined and fantasized with the next destination. Naturally, architecture has been a key part of these states. Today, however, it has become common for train stations to be places for consumerism, closer to shopping malls. In most cases, waiting consists in checking emails, making phone calls or accessing social media ‘killing time.’
Studio 2A continues to question and work with the technologies that surround us to reflect and propose an architecture that emerges from qualities of time, motion and place. We live immersed in a world of speed, virtuality and constant motion, we consume events and places through photos, ‘stories’ and ‘likes’ in matter of seconds.
Yet, do we ever stop to question these conditions from an architectural point of view? How does speed and instantaneity affect the places we design and experience? How can we think creatively with these conditions while still allowing a place for stillness and physical presence?
Along the train line between Aarhus and Struer, students have investigated hidden stories and speculative future scenarios for new stops. The proposed new stops will focus on creating an architecture that belongs to its location. Instead of designing more places for consumerism and globalized image, the project will emerge from the qualities of its context, culture and environment, as well as from its relationship to the fleeting and dynamic aspects of travelling.
The program for the proposals considers three temporal experiences for the visitor: a stay for one hour, a stay for the day, and a stay for a week. Much like in the tradition of the ‘trinbræt’ (“train step”), small stops with minimal program but full of character and regional as well as imported qualities, the new stop will be seemingly a stranger that discloses unknown qualities of the chosen site and region.