Centralstation

















The Centralstation, in Darmstadt, is a cultural venue housed in what once was an electricity generating station, built in 1889. The new scheme is comprehensive and well articulated comprising a main hall for rock concerts on the ground floor, a viewing gallery on the mezzanine level, with a lounge bar directly above, and a concert chamber on the upper floor for jazz and classical recitals.

A bespoke mobile bar, finished in oak veneer, services the ground floor's range of activities. Four service points, integrated into the floor surface, support this concept: each node contains water, waste, electricity and IT connections. To facilitate circulation, a new staircase, constructed solely out of 4mm steel plating, and detailed with integrated lighting, connects the ground floor to the mezzanine level and the cocktail lounge bar above. This latter space is fitted with a frameless glass wall, so enabling physical and acoustic autonomy from the main hall below. A translucent finish to the upper half of the glazing provides a sense of privacy when standing and views downstairs when seated. The furniture in the bar is bespoke, its horizontal accent contrasting with the lounge’s linear configuration.

The concert chamber on the upper floor is accessed via the main stairwell situated in the entrance lobby. The exposed aluminum roof structure animates the space, as well as acknowledging the building's industrial past. Preserving the volumetric integrity of these spaces, while making them fit for purpose as a live venue, was fundamental in the development of the overall design. To this end three subtle architectural elements have been introduced: first, a mobile stainless steel bar, featuring a backlit onyx marble inlay; secondly, a stage and its backdrop, both crafted in selected veneer, the latter housing the integrated technical services; and finally, a series of storage units to provide secure space for the seating.

A key detail of the storage design is its multi-folding doors, serving as acoustic panels when so required. Externally, the doors are configured in stainless steel; internally, they are clad in a sound absorption carpet, the quality of the hall's acoustics being significantly altered when the doors are opened and extended. In addition, the vibrancy of the carpet’s colour alludes to the panel's functional importance, as well as visually contrasting with the hall’s industrial aesthetic.