SAINT-NAZAIRE – Tetrarc Architect’s designs for a public transport hub in Saint-Nazaire, France were recently completed. The projects – a bus shelter and a bridge – make up two points in this multi-modal interchange designed to accommodate increasing bus and rail traffic in Saint-Nazaire, while catering to pedestrians and their comfort.
The bus shelter runs parallel to the public square in front of Saint-Nazaire’s train station. The horizontality of the overhang contrasts sharply with the verticality of the existing buildings and frames the entrance to the square. The dynamic form and bright yellow hue of the roof adds visual interest to grey surroundings and makes the roof-cover a focal point, drawing pedestrians to it. It gives the impression of speed that is realised in the function of the shelter as a traffic-easing intervention. Daylighting is maximised in the shelter as the gap between its two canopies admits sunlight and a view to the sky. The glossy finish overhead and the shiny columns also reflect light, increasing visual effects both day and night. The overhang protects pedestrians from rain while glass-walled waiting areas shield passengers from the wind, all while maintaining visual connections to the surroundings.
Tetrarc’s second design for Saint-Nazaire is the bridge that passes over the station railway lines, purposefully divided into three zones – a central lane for buses and cars, flanked by two passages for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrian comfort is also considered in this design. Undulating metallic sheets fold over the sides of the bridge to protect cyclists and pedestrians from strong winds, while eye-level perforations in the sheets allow views from the bridge. The contours of the bridge were intended to evoke recollections of both the trains that pass below it and silhouettes of ocean liners which are a predominant aspect of Saint-Nazaire’s skyline, associated with the town’s ship-building history.