Transition Space

Architectural Design and Participation

The year is 1972. The „Olympiabahnhof“ S-Bahn station is the entry point for guests from all over the world, who came to Munich for the Olympic experience. Almost 50 years later, the same station looks completely abandoned. The whole place has been affected by the growth of nature and the passing of time. Inhabitants of Munich walk occasionally through the area in the search of hidden places. Despite its current state, the whole station forms part of the history of the city, show marks of its development and has become part of the public space for the inhabitants. How can a much-needed social housing project be built in the area, without taking away the value of what is already there? This project aims to answer this question by using the S-Bahn station as the starting point of the design.

The shape of the station is replicated five times to the north, following the direction of the train tracks, and emphasizing the horizontality of the existing train platforms. By using the same dimensions, the experience of walking under the station can be replicated and the existing station is integrated. Also, by using the whole length of the platforms a horizontal public path is created, and the station becomes the entry to it. The constant rhythm of the placement brings a certain monumentality. And thanks to the free space between the volumes, the site doesn’t become a barrier. Three goals defined the functioning of the project and what it had to be. First, it has to be a public space and keep the public character. Therefore, the building is lifted and its footprint is reduced to a minimum. Second, it has to be an infrastructure space for mobility. A city will always need infrastructure. I decided to create a bike path in the central lane, where the train rails used to be. And the station, will now work as a bike station. Third, it has to be a transition space. A place of arrival and departure, showing constant movement. I decided to offer temporary social housing instead of regular housing, in order to avoid privatization of the space. There are 3 different floor plans, one for each age group, assuring that the building could be used by different users. It is no secret, that the brutalist aspect, the machine-like aspect, the monumentality, is a reference to the time when the Olympics took place and to other buildings of the complex. It is a reference to the abandoned train station itself. This project is an exercise of thinking how things could have been done better. An exercise of looking at the past when designing for the future, learning from it and preserving it. And an exercise of finding balance. Because the „Other city“, for me, is a balanced city. A city which thinks in everyone when it is expanding, even in those who have less. A city which gives value to its history, and won’t just erase it. And a city, which recognizes that the open free public space is just as important for its inhabitants as the private space.

The site
Site plan and public layer
Floor plan 1
1st and 2nd level floor plan. Users: families and people of the third age.
Floor plan 2
3rd and 4th level floor plan. Users: singles and small families
Floor plan 3
5th and 6th level floor plan. Users: students
Sections in the two directions and south/east elevation.
Exterior perspective of a model picture with the existing station in the background.