Finalists chosen for Brno train station project – the biggest Czech architectural competition yet

Photo: Tomáš Kremr / Czech Radio

The biggest architectural competition in modern Czech history has advanced to the final stage. The Brno City Council this week chose four teams that will vie to design a new main train station for the Moravian capital. For this last leg of the competition, the city is preparing a detailed 3-D model of the transport hub.

Apart from designing the new Brno main train station itself – from the platform to the roof, the interior to the façades – the competing architectural teams had to submit concepts for connecting bridges and related public spaces.

Photo: Tomáš Kremr / Czech Radio

They also had to identify the optimal location and appearance of a new bus station, public transport terminal, car parks, taxi stands, bicycle storage and pedestrian access. What’s more, as the construction will be part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), designs must account for a range of interconnections.

At the Brno University of Technology, a collapsible 3-D model of the existing site is now being built, using a range of thermoplastics and machine-tooled wood. The nearly “million-crown” model will be akin to a giant puzzle on a 1:500 scale, which the teams competing to design the train station can modify as they see fit.

Michal Sedláček  (left),  photo: Tomáš Kremr / Czech Radio

Michal Sedláček, head of the Brno City Architect Office (KAM), told Czech Radio that the city had will use the 3-D models not only to assess the competing teams’ designs, but also to assess high-rise building projects that should sprout up in the new Trnitá district around the train station.

Photo: Tomáš Kremr / Czech Radio

“A physical model is the best way to assess a proposal. Both for the jury, for the professional and for the general public. Not everyone can imagine the spatial dimensions from blueprints, so models help…

“We had an old model of Brno and were debating whether in the long run it was worth using. And we said to ourselves that since there is this great architectural competition, we can use the opportunity to ensure this city has a model comparable to those of cities such as Hamburg or Vienna.”

In total, 12 teams took part in the first round of the international competition. Three were invited directly while the other nine were selected by an expert jury from 46 submitted applications and portfolios of architects.

Photo: Tomáš Kremr / Czech Radio

Among them were, for example, were the designers of train stations in major European cities – Vienna, Berlin, Rotterdam, The Hague, Bologna, London and Birmingham – but also the creators of the famous High Line Park and The Shed art centre in New York.

The competition itself concerns a record large area and also prizes which Brno and the Railway Administration will pay – with the winning team getting 6 million crowns, the runner-up 5 million crowns, and the third-place finisher 4 million crowns.