For a post-graduate design project students were asked to design a renovation or replacement for Vienna’s existing Westbahnhof train station. What Shahira Hammad offered up is a striking mass of what appears to be decaying foliage.
If the boys from ‘Lord of the Flies’ — or ‘Lord of the Rings’, for that matter — had a need to construct a train station, Hammad’s creation would easily fit the bill. However, amidst the elegant monumental architecture of Vienna, the post-apocalyptic aesthetic of the proposal lies in stark contrast. The sleek, shiny technological train system housed by the station also creates an odd juxtaposition — as if an advanced robotic alien life form has taken over an abandoned terrestrial wasp’s nest.
Hammad explains that she wanted to expose the excessive rationality of the built environment by creating a comparison with the chaotic-looking complexities created by nature. The look of decay is also intentional to bring attention to the temporal nature of structures. Most architecture is designed with little thought to the following transition through time, a transition that Mother Nature has mastered from cradle to grave. This proposal is definitely unique and thought-provoking, but how many Viennese would actually want to see the design go beyond the drawing board?