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Published: Friday, September 01, 2006

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Kropcke Metro Station

Responding to strict technical guidelines and an aesthetically focused design brief, architect Massimo Iosa Ghini skillfully molds the humble glass mosaic into a brand new skin for the Kropcke Metro Station.

By: Iosa Ghini Associati

Architecture-Page | Kropcke Metro Station by Iosa Ghini Associati srl
View of the tracks in the underground metro station

Project Details

  • Project Name: Kropcke Metro Station
  • Location: Hanover, Germany
  • Client: ustra Hannoverische Verkehrsbetriebe Ag
  • Project Type: Metro Railway Station
  • Architect: Iosa Ghini Associati srl
  • Principal Designer: Massimo Iosa Ghini
  • Date of completion of project: 2000
  • Total Site Area: 12.000 m2
  • Built-up Area: 12.000 m2

Architecture-Page | Kropcke Metro Station by Iosa Ghini Associati srl
While glass mosaic is extensively used to clad surfaces, unclad columns are strategically lit to add to their aesthetic appeal

The Building

The project involved the refurbishment of Hanover's most important station- the Kropcke metro station, inaugurated for the Hanover Expo 2000 with ten metro lines converging here. The design brief required that the project be interpreted from two standpoints: an aesthetic as well as a technical one. This made it possible to implement complex designs by bringing in comprehensive expertise. The design was largely driven by the dynamism innate to the station- physical motion united with high-speed transfer of information.

Architecture-Page | Kropcke Metro Station by Iosa Ghini Associati srl
View of the 'Yellow City'- a sketch by the architect reproduced in glass mosaic.

Revamping the Interiors

To perk up the image and identity of the structure, all the visible elements were redesigned: illuminated advertising, seating, display cases, display windows, lighting fixtures, columns, steel mirrors, and signs on the platforms Further, new functions, eateries, vending areas and lockers were added. Three large city sketches by Massimo Iosa Ghini, reproduced in mosaic, brightened the station walls. Mosaic was ideal as a light non-invasive finishing material as it could be adapted to the most complex forms, dramatically changing the atmosphere of the place without disrespecting its historical spirit. The mosaic in glass opal was mounted as a "new skin" that adhered to the existing structure without overwhelming it.

Architecture-Page | Kropcke Metro Station by Iosa Ghini Associati srl
Transit areas observe both - aesthetic as well as strict technical guidelines laid out by the design brief.

Technical Enhancements

From a technical standpoint, the objective of the design was to augment the use of available space by developing an overall format that could potentially be applied to the entire underground rail network. The system of objects was designed so that it could be standardized and used at other stations as well. Greater attention was also paid to comfort and the noise level at the platforms was reduced by insulating the false ceilings.

Moreover, high-grip flooring and ergonomic seating were installed and the area was made visually more relaxing by applying pale, soothing colors. New elements, whose forms were in sync with the overall ambiance, were created as safety features to ensure a better line of vision. The station features a lighting system that essentially operates by refraction on the ceiling and direct lighting on the flooring. When trains arrive for instance, the lights over the platform get brighter to make the signs more visible.


  • Text: Courtesy, the architect
  • Photographs by Santi Caleca, courtesy of Iosa Ghini Associati srl
  • Compiled and edited by Mitesh Saraf

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