Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Station with Veranda

Strasbourg had a striking railway station, dating from 1883 - one of the 'German' periods.
In fact it still has & although we know it well as occasional users, we were surprised on a recent open day to discover, amongst other exotic details well worth seeing, the lavish 'Emperor's Salon', built to receive Emperor Wilhelm I but which he never used...

Today though, the 1883 stone facade is covered by an enormous glass veranda.

At the planning stage, the usual whiners complained that this veranda might detract from the classical elegance of the listed building.
Of course, they were soon silenced when it was scathingly pointed out that the veranda was going to be all glass & that glass is, well, you know, transparent - you can see through it, so no problem.
Well - score one for the usual whiners, as the facade is now quite invisible behind the tinted, sloping, reflective glass.
The result looks like a big blob of mercury.
Like you used to play with in the good old days before Minamata.

The veranda does do quite a decent job of providing much-needed extra space & weather protection for milling travellers, not only for the main-line station, but for the communicating tram station & car park, built just underneath.

Not a perfect job though.
From the start, there were problems with rain driving in, at the junction between the veranda & the facade and also between the many glass panels.
I think that has now been improved, if not actually solved.

Then there was all-pervading grit, which seemingly originated when the trams in the underground station dumped sand on the lines to improve braking performance.
Now, as each tram enters the station, it switches on a wheel-level fog-bank which settles the sand & iron filings near the rails, instead of allowing them to billow up into the veranda.

OK now then?
Well - no.
Having got rid of the grit, the shopkeepers now see a thick, black, sooty deposit all over their tables, chairs & sandwiches.
Not to mention in their handkerchiefs.
So yet another investigation is underway.
It's early days yet.
The veranda was opened in 2007.

Parting thot: "Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them." - Albert Einstein

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