Passenges often enjoy well-designed buildings at many railway and bus termini, but why does it have to stop there? Why do many local commuter railway stations and bus stops provide basic engineering solutions that appear to have been designed more to be vandal-proof and to house advertising than give a pleasant experience that makes up for the delays in timetables to the weary traveller. There have been a number of good examples of well designed artistic bus shelters – for example in 2012 John Marhoefer of Entech Creative Industries and Walter Geiger of Walt Geiger Studios brought together engineering and art for the design of award-winning shelters at several bus stops in Orlando, Florida. The latest example is in the village of Krumbach in Austria where seven international designers were invited to design and build bus shelters in return, not for a fee, but for a holiday there. Krumbach is a village with a population of only 1,000 people spread around the countryside. It established the Bus:Stop project to boost the number of tourists who already visit the surrounding area for its scenery, history and heritage.
Dietmar Steiner acted as curator for the project and invited the seven international architects – Sou Fujimoto from Japan, Wang Shu’s Amateur Architecture Studio from China, RintalaEggertson Architects from Norway, Ensemble Studio from Spain, Smiljan Radic from Chile, Architecten de Vyler Yink Taillieu from Belgium and Alexander Brodsky from Russia. Much to his surprise, they all accepted and have created a rich and varied series of architectural masterpieces around the village.
If a small village in Austria can do this, why not the mighty machine of TfL run by the Mayor of London? New areas such as Tech City around Old Street could have their identities marked by new artistic designs. It could also be a means of architectural competitions to enable new, small upcoming designers to reach new audiences and clients, something the RIBA says it would like to support.