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What happens when you ask international architects to redesign the bus stop?


November 18, 2013

Sou Fujimito's bus stop design is perhaps the most abstract

Sou Fujimito's bus stop design is perhaps the most abstract

Image Gallery (22 images)

Consult the English-language branch of Wikipedia as to the whats and whereabouts of Krumbach, and you will discover that it is a small Austrian market town nestled in a region of some archaeological interest, that it was beset by plague and cholera in the 16- and 1700s, and that its first fire station was founded in 1884 (disclaimer: citations needed). What you won't learn, though surely it is only now a matter of time, is that the town has been the focus of seven architectural practices who were invited to submit bold new takes on the humble bus stop.

Local association kultur kumbrach invited architects from Belgium, Chile, China, Japan, Norway, Russia and Spain, all of whom responded within four weeks, Der Spiegel reports. The resulting designs, curated by Austrian architect Dietmar Steiner under the banner Bus:Stop vary from practical shelters to avant-garde sculptures. One, a design nearer the useful end of the spectrum from Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, has been built already. His enclosed design is more like a minimalist take on a railway station waiting room, though with a birdhouse on the roof.

It's unclear whether the remaining designs, depicted in both visualizations and 1:7.5 models, will be built. Health and safety advisors may have something to say about the submission from Japan's Sou Fujimoto, which appears to comprise an exposed stairway to nowhere surrounded by a thicket of narrow vertical uprights.

The remaining submissions, from Belgium's dvvt, Russia's Alexander Brodsky, Spain's Ensamble Studio, Norway's Rintala Eggertsson, and China's Wang Shu, can be seen in the gallery.

Sources: kultur krumbach, Der Spiegel

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Forget the bus stops, what needs redesigning is traffic signals. Not how they look but how they work. They are so inefficient, waisting time and burning tons of fuel daily. A smartphone could run an app that controls it much better. The camera is aimed at the intersection and the traffic evaluated. The traffic signals could talk to each other to increase flow also. The system would cost far less then the archaic one they have now.Think about it next time your sitting at a light waiting for nothing.

The Hoff

I think Fujimoto's design is intended for double-decker buses. Or, roof maintenance.

Michael Good

What do you get today when you invite international recognized architects to design something for you? Junk that's not worth the materials they were made from. There's no double decker bus there nor is there a ceiling or walls on the grassy looking thingy. The only 1 that shows any sense is the 1 with the 3 chairs but 3 chairs isn't very practical, unless that's the avg # of people waiting at the stop & they better be bolted to the floor.

Matt Fletcher

Images 1,3,4,5,6,7,9,15,16,18 are all life threatening traffic hazards. Once these misguided things get put up the only way to get them taken down is after enough people are dead. There is something like image 1 in a town near me. All it does is block motorists vision and cause accidents. THINK FIRST! Don't propose dangerous ideas to politicians just so the designer can get paid by the tax payers.


@ The Hoff Traffic lights are not individually controlled they are set to make the whole system flow with maximum efficiency. Changing the timing of one light will throw the system out of balance causing bigger delays elsewhere costing more time, fuel, and money. But go ahead and rage because the system is not designed to maximize your convenience at everybody else's expense.


First question: will it keep the rain off waiting passengers? (FYI it rains quite a lot in Austria.)

If not, it may be a bus stop, but it is not a bus shelter, which is the only reason to put up more than a simple sign.

Wanna do sculpture? Do sculpture, great. But do it for its own sake, don't sneak it in on the public transport budget, as a structure not fit for purpose.


I think they should have not asked Architects but Industrial Designers, who tend to be more practical while offering creative solutions. The solutions offered wheren't particularly elegant; but certainly would be expensive, yet with no safety features.


A huge A to Z FAIL Architect - originaly meaning-> one who directs the work of others. Not competitors to see who could come up with the most capricious stupid expensive sculpture to clutter a road side. You got these obvious parameters. 1. shelter from sun 2. shelter from rain 3. buffer from strong wind. 4. no obstruction to approching traffic view (see the bus coming) 5. not a refuge for the homeless. 6. not a windblown trash catch. 6A. a trash bin easily maintained. 7. Places to sit down, but not lie down, maybe hang bags or packages. 8 display area for route information, bus numbers, schedules, advertising, transit information web page, or phone number posting. 9. provide good cell phone signal passively or actively 10 durable , vandal proof, low cost materials actractive in design, and inexpensive to assemble, low maintenance. 11. noise reducing, at least not noise reflecting.

Dave B13

Utterly ridiculous- shows why you ought to leave bus stop design to industrial designers and not architects- at least industrial designers will understand the brief.

Clearly the majority of architects have never taken a bus in their lives- you need to be able to see the bus coming in order to stop it in time (so solid opaque walls are out). And at the very least, a bus shelter needs to provide protection from the rain...

I hope these idiots were not paid for their efforts. Ideally, they ought to be compelled to spend the winter doing nothing but travel on buses to various stops until they start to form some idea in their minds as to what is required of a bus shelter. As a bus user myself I think I could certainly come up with something more practical than the British 'Adshel' type shelter in use here, which tend to leak from various points on the roof, and so limit places you can actually stand under them without rainwater-diluted pigeon poo dripping on you.


Has anyone seen the bus hselters on the Isle Of Lewis and Harris? Amazing things that look like nuclear shelters! The Outer Hebrides build to last.

Roger Dutton

How do you fail at designing a bus spot for crying out loud? Well if you're an architect apparently it's pretty easy. Dave B13 puts out the specs pretty well. I keep seeing cool looking buildings and such designed by architects get awards and compliments that waste space and power or are completely unusable.


http://www.google.com/imghp search phrase: bus shelter

Many good looking designs, and a wild looking lovely sculpture (orlando) in addition to list above another now obvious features occurs - roof must slope back so rain water (and pigeon poo named above drains behind shelter) photovoltaics on top may be needed to power lights or cell phone reception enhancement. I'm kind of conflicted with great looking buildings that have poor economy, but there are luxury cars, and bicycles, depends on the customers/users needs and wants, are they met.

Dave B13

Sou Fujimito's bus stop design forgets one critical component of being a bus shelter and that is to shelter the people waiting for the bus from the elements.

Nelson Chick

Agree, what's needed is a collision-proof bus stop that also protects customers from the elements. Wi-fi, cameras and/or digital bus schedules and clocks would be an improvement. So would heaters, in the northern climates


It is obvious these so called architects have no real work to do, and this is evident in the result of these horrible attempts.

Including the glass block with three wooden chairs, that would be either stolen, burned, or scarred with sharp objects within a day.

I am an Industrial designer with almost 30 years of experience, including designing an award winning bus shelter for the city of Montreal almost 20 years ago and most are still in use today.

Bob Flint

Fanciful avant-garde sculptures are fine for art museums, not so much for public bus stops.

Jay Wilson

Oh the fancy presentation with an orchestra and all. Completely stupid, what's it doing here?

The Hoff

I use the bus and am very revealed that my council will not implement such impractical structures in my lifetime, maybe someone could give us an intelligent concept?

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