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In modern urban architecture, the deliberate interplay of light and materials is used to shape the environment. The aim is, firstly, to provide orientation and shelter and, secondly, to convey a sense of well-being. For the redesign of the central bus station (ZOB) in Weilheim, Bavaria, HI-MACS® natural acrylic stone in the translucent shade ‘Opal’ was used to provide an ideal surround for the glass canopy of the new bus platform shelter. This use showcases both the elegance and weather resistance of the Solid Surface material.
The overall design concept devised by Atelier PK Architects in Berlin for the redesign of Weilheim city bus station in Upper Bavaria meets many different functional requirements and will, in the future, serve as a link between Weilheim city centre and the station site. One of the design elements of the “Neue Weilheimer Bahnhofsband” (New Weilheim Station Band), as it is called, is the modern, illuminated glass canopy of the central bus station and bike & ride station. The structure extends over five of the seven new bus platforms while also offering passengers direct, weather-protected access to trains on platform 1. The impressive 120 m-long and 8 m-wide canopy was designed, manufactured and assembled by Glasbau Gipser GmbH, a specialist in bespoke glass and metal construction.
Holding up the canopy is a stable, 130-tonne, galvanised and coated steel supporting structure, which bears the weight of the 1,000 m² of glazing and 200 m² flashing.
The real highlight, however, is the cladding on the outside edge of the roof, which is made from HI-MACS® Solid Surface material. To produce this, the surface technology specialists at Rosskopf + Partner AG manufactured a total of 390 panels of the acrylic stone, which give the canopy its bright and elegant surround. As a special design effect, the elegant lettering ‘ZOB Weilheim’ (Weilheim bus station) was milled onto two places of the circumferential band, which, thanks to the translucent properties of the ‘Opal’-coloured Solid Surface material is effectively backlit and stands out very clearly. In the dark, the entire band is brightly illuminated, creating a safe and friendly atmosphere for passengers.
With its almost unlimited design possibilities, HI-MACS® is the perfect material for this cladding. It offers a variety of outstanding properties, including three-dimensional thermoplastic forming capabilities and an extensive colour palette. HI-MACS® ‘Opal’ is from the Lucent collection, whose translucent shades allow for spectacular designs and optimally underscore the effective use of light. The material is also extremely weather resistant, keeping future maintenance requirements to a minimum. That was not the only material characteristic that stood out for those involved in the project: “This project was our first time working with HI-MACS® and we were really impressed by its durability and easy assembly. Basically, for our installers, there was barely any difference between fitting the Solid Surface material panels and the flashing,” explains project manager M. Manfred Liehr.
With the new design and choice of material, the city of Weilheim has gained a landmark bus station as befitting its special importance as a key public transport hub for the region.