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The Passenger in focus

The aim of the new Metro is to create attractive journeys in an expanding conurbation. In order to meet the needs of the future station environment, it is essential that architects, artists and engineers work closely together.

Station design must help to make journeys feel safe and secure, as well meeting all accessibility requirements. Henrik Rundquist is the head architect for the Stockholm Metro’s Yellow Line:

“The Metro is a place where many people with differing needs briefly but frequently come together, perhaps several times each day. For passengers, it is crucial that the station environment provides a functional yet pleasant experience,” says Henrik.

In such a technically complex project, Henrik believes it is the architect’s role to provide the buffer between engineering expertise and passengers:

“I normally describe our role as that of the passengers’ protector! The Metro should be a pleasant place. Our point of departure is that the travel experience should come first if we are to attract more people to use public transport,” says Henrik.

The station at Arenastaden offers excellent views on descending from the ticket hall. The walls and ceiling will have a pixelated photo mosaic designed by the German artist collective, inges idee. The image shows a proposed design that may be subject to change. Illustration:  &Rundquist/3D HOUSE

Roomy underground spaces

So, how does one create a feeling of safety and security when travelling by train 30-40 metres underground? Henrik explains that is important to create a feeling of spaciousness and generally counteract the sense of being deep beneath the earth, as well as to provide clear links between the various spaces:

“Free lines of sight make it easier to orientate oneself. Thoughtful lighting design guides passengers and provides a greater sense of security. It is also important to carefully locate entranc­es within the urban environment – on streets where they can be easily found,” adds Henrik.

Integrated artworks

Stockholm’s Metro has a long tradition of art in stations. From its opening in the 1950s, the number of stations continued to grow into the 1990s and currently stands at 100, with each era leaving its own impression. Like the age rings of a tree trunk, these new stations date the expansion of the network. Artworks are integrated into the very fabric of the Metro and its design grows organically through collaborations between artists, architects and other craftsmen. The intention is that each station should have a unique atmosphere in which art contributes to the passenger experience – an experience that, for many, will be repeated on a daily basis over many years.

“Not all the stations need to have that wow factor, but it is necessary to create a good day-to-day impression,” explains Henrik.

And does Henrik himself have a favourite ­station on the Stockholm Metro?

“Solna Strand, on the Blue Line. Although the dark interior is austere, it is beautiful in its simplicity,” Henrik concludes.

Hagalund Station. Artist Pia Törnell has been inspired by European railway stations of a bygone age, as well as temples and cathedrals and the myth of the illuminated mountain hall. The image shows a proposed design that may be subject to change. Illustration: &Rundquist/3D HOUSE

Main picture: As designed by Åsa Jungnelius, the platform at Hagastaden forms the innermost space of the art work titled 'Snäckan' (Shell). Illustration: &Rundquist/3D HOUSE