Strasbourg Railway Station, France 

Like a giant cocoon, the new glass shell of Strasbourg Railway Station wraps around the historic station building. In collaboration with the engineering firm RFR, Jean-Marie Railway Duthilleul, the architect for the French railway, designed a glass hall, which runs above the landmarked building for a length of 120 metres, while seeming never to make contact with it. An oversized, 25-metre high “winter garden” serves as the entrance building and as the link between train tracks and trains, trams, buses, taxis as well as the underground.
The new station hall will also make history – as a pioneering project in the building of glass structures. Cold-formed LSG panes were used for the first time on this project, which involved a surface area of nearly 6,000 m2. The primary steel supporting frame is made up of 16 main arches spaced at nine-metre intervals and horizontal secondary supports suspended in between (lattice ‘Fink’ beam elements), spaced at a 4.5-metre radial interval.
Resting on this frame are vertically positioned steel T-profiles with aluminium supports on which the glass panes are fixed with compression moulding in the vertical lines. The horizontal fittings are only wet jointed, giving the glass hall a vertical structure.
Traditionally, curved glass is produced by heating flat glass panels using bending moulds. However, heat-shaping leads to a lack of visual quality as regards flatness and reflections and causes undesirable manufacturing anisotropies. Cold-formed glass, by contrast, provides a much more homogeneous surface. The glass structure at Strasbourg Railway Station was created from various components: six-millimetre thermally pre-stressed white glass with a double silkscreen printing in white/black similar to that on the roof, plastic composite foil with integrated sun protection film and six-millimetre thermally pre-stressed glass with low coating.