Balloon Station Friedrichstrasse
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Balloon Station Friedrichstraße · Berlin
The station of Friedrichstraße is an incredibly complex, three–dimensional node. 50 000 people rush through this maze–like structure daily: commuters change the elevated trains for trams or subways, shoppers take advantage of the Friedrichstraße terminus to hop on a bus, tourists get off ferries and dash to see all the sites nearby. Nobody stops, for there is little to do except drop by one of the retail units to grab and go. It’s a transitional space, a habit — an invisible node that has little character or interest in the urban experience.
The Thesis introduces a Balloon Station as a strategy to change the reading of this node, to turn the everyday transitional space into a place. The functional spaces of the existing station are traversed by a series of positive events that offer delight, intrigue, and reason to see the station as an exciting part of the urban experience. The train station and the Balloon Station act as one — sharing infrastructure, enhancing connectivity, fusing functionality and joy.
Balloons — the symbol of freedom and celebration — reverse the fame of the place as a Station of Tears, its role as a node of separation during the era of divided Berlin — and transform it into a node of celebration. The programme of balloon manufacture, enjoyment and launch into the Berlin skies — and their return by means of existing public transport — turn the station into a centre of circulation that connects the entire city by means of a highly visible, celebrated cycle.