The design and construction of major projects can take a generation. 22 years ago, a competition was held for a new, sub-surface, main railway station in Stuttgart. After almost endless public protests, and Deutsche Bahn temporarily distancing itself from the project, construction is now taking shape. In the technical article of this issue, the engineers explain the design and construction of chalice columns that support the roof of the the station hall.
Further unusual design and construction processes are also covered in this issue. Like Stuttgart, the Breton city of Rennes is also reorganising its main railway station and surroundings. The existing station building, which was only 30 years old, gained a new entrance hall with a light-weight roof construction made of foil cushions. For reasons of efficiency, the 12,500 t steel structure of the Adidas “Arena” office building in Herzogenaurach was assembled at ground level and then lifted up more than 10 m in one piece. A timber tower built In Herrenberg near Stuttgart allows individual segments to be replaced without the tower having to be totally dismantled.
Research at the ETH Zurich highlights a method of structural engineering design that allows much greater design freedom, specifically in the early phases. The method is based on combinational equilibrium modelling and is explained in the essay of this issue.