Rail passengers can now use a new entrance bringing together in a single space pedestrians and cars, shops and services, while the LGV line (high-speed rail line), cutting journey time between Paris and Bordeaux to just two hours four minutes, has been in operation since 2 July 2017. The reconfigured station provides greater passenger capacity with estimated annual passenger capacity being 18 million with the opening of the LGV.
THE FIRST COMPONENT OF AN AMBITIOUS URBAN PROJECT
The extension of the station rounds off the creation of a multimodal metropolitan, regional and European transport hub, as the possible extension of the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique line to Madrid and Lisbon would connect the countries of Northern and Southern Europe with links to London, Brussels and Amsterdam.
This hub is accessible to all modes of transport (bus, tram, bicycles, pedestrians, taxis and car parking) and is also a new living and services space facing the Belcier district at the heart of the Bordeaux Euratlantique urban development, which is one of the first phases of the Bordeaux 2030 urban project run by the metropolitan council.
A NEW GATEWAY TO THE CITY
Bordeaux Saint-Jean station now has two radically different faces, depending upon whether passengers use its traditional entrance or Hall 3 built for the arrival of the LGV. The imposing old station is at a right angle to the River Garonne and has a classical façade designed by the architect Marius Toudoire (1852-1922) who went on to build Gare de Lyon in Paris and Toulouse-Matabiau station. The station building is crowned by an immense glass roof, the largest in France.
The new station, on the Belcier side, provides a second gateway to the city which fits with the urban feel of the neighbourhood. The architects plumped for terraced architecture which opens out onto the new southern forecourt reserved for pedestrians, bicycles (220 bike bays), taxis and buses. The transparent ground floor is home to the services, concourse and retail outlets, while the upper floors are used for car parking.
The new entrance hall has three main functions. Firstly, it is a concourse, waiting, ticket sales, newsagents, bookshop and takeaway food area for passengers. It also provides access to a subway serving all the platforms and enables passengers to cross to the historic station building located on the other side of the tracks. It is open to all, particularly Belcier residents and new Euratlantique area residents who can access the ancillary services: shops and food outlets.
HALL 3 – AN INTERLINKED STATION AND CAR PARK
Located to the south-east of the tracks, the new 2,500 m² station is of a similar size to the historic hall – one of the largest in Europe – and is on the same level as the Bercier district of the city. The building occupies land previously destined for car hire companies and car parks transferred to the adjoining Armagnac area, as well as buses, which are returning to the city centre square.
Hall 3 offers vast, light and airy spaces. The terraced car park, the highest section of the project, sits back from the street in order to create a forecourt extending the tree-lined boulevard. The car park (seven levels and 860 spaces) is not only located next to the new station building but is embedded in it, thus making for a fluid car to train passenger route. The very open car park (almost without a façade) has increasingly set back terraces and offers a panoramic view of the city and towards the River Garonne.
A LIGHT AND WELCOMING SPACE FOR USERS
The forecourt is reserved for sustainable modes of transport – walking and cycling – while rue des Terres de Borde is accessible to public transport, making for a safe shared public space, while offering access to services, terraces and shops. There is disabled access to all the buildings.
On both sides of the forecourt, there is a dialogue between the old honey-coloured Aquitaine stones of the houses on rue des Terres de Borde, and the fine horizontal lines of the light concrete used on the new station. Hall 3 is a real showcase for the station and offers a light and welcoming space for users in which passengers and local residents rub shoulders.
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES
The project was designed in partnership with MaP3 engineering firm and is remarkably delicate and light given the type of building. Several details contribute to its light feel, notably the use of pre-stressed concrete on the only 11cm thick slab edges and the stainless steel balustrade, which accentuate the transparency, and the very low drop of the structures. The car park facades are well ventilated and open to the city and consequently offer panoramic views. The vehicle safety barriers are made from two tensioned cables. The cables are supported every 7.8m by folded sheet metal posts. The cables absorb the energy of a crash with a high level of deformation, which reduces the stress placed on the slabs, and helps keep them light.
STANDOUT FEATURES OF THE CAR PARK
- The corbelled slabs punctuate the undersides of the levels with over 350 units prefabricated by Jousselin in its factory.
- The vehicle fall-protection system is a first in France as it makes use of horizontal cables stretched between metal posts.
- The Languedoc red marble external fabric of the building encasing the tops of the car park fire escapes evokes the fishing cabins used by fishermen in Arcachon Bay.
- The spiral ramp and wire mesh shaft on which the six parking levels are attached offers quick access to all the car park levels.
ECO-FRIENDLY CAR PARK
The project to extend Saint-Jean station on the Belcier side was eco-friendly. A rainwater harvesting system has been installed, natural ventilation is used to control the temperature in the public spaces, and the design adheres to a low noise charter.
Since the creation of the company in 1997, our teams have been designing and building for the contemporary city, the nexus of mobility. AREP Group brings together 900 people of about 30 nationalities involved in more than 800 projects both in France and abroad. Our teams combine various complementary disciplines in a spirit of innovation and attention to human needs: architects, city-planners, designers, engineers, economists, architectural programming consultants and construction operations managers. We have developed a creative approach of public space so as to meet the needs of the urban population, thus forming a laboratory for ongoing research on the fast-changing urban environment at all levels, from entire metropolitan areas to individual buildings. AREP is a wholly owned subsidiary of SNCF, the French national rail operator. The company’s turnover for 2017 was 112 800 000 euros.
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