FFG, BMVIT, ÖBB
2013 - 2016
The goal of this research project, entitled “Quality Waiting Areas with an Energy Self-sufficiency Concept“, is the development of climatically conditioned waiting areas, as a new comfort module, that can be integrated into Austrian Federal Railway (ÖBB) stations. Its focus is the planning of a sustainable solution that can be implimented throughout Austria, taking into consideration the ecological and economical aspects, ideally within the realm of self-sufficiency.
Under the acronym NEMO, which was not only derived as the abbreviation of “New Environments of Mobility“, but was also a conscious reference toward The Odysee, by Homer, Captain Nemo by Jules Verne, and Disney Studios´ film Finding Nemo. As different as these tales may be, there is a connection, the narrative of movement and flow. Simultaneously, new properties were identified in the title “New Environments of Mobility“ that must be addressed, based on rapid technological developments to these transitory waiting areas in very short periods of time, resulting in constant reconsideration, expiration, and renewal.
Tying together diverse historical citations with visions for the future represents our conviction that a broad and open minded concept is fit, or legitimate, for the future.
In order to approach the thematic range inherent in NEMO in our present age, our first step was to place the eventual users of these new waiting areas at the center of our research. Additionally, their movements, their daily rituals and routes, and their situative choice of transportation were analyzed. The impact this multitude of actions has upon the whole system, upon our whole planet, as well as upon the contribution this research project has were taken into utmost consideration. In particular, the protection of resources, sustainability, and our behavior in regard to mobility were deliberated.
People, movement, locations, and planet. These four subject areas, as well as their interactions, interdependence, and synergies, are the lines of action that give the NEMO project form and serve as a kind of underlying grid for our development
From the very beginning, NEMO was on track with the European Parlament Guidelines (Directive 2010/31/EU: Energy Performance of Buildings), which states that heavily frequented buildings should set an example by showing that environmental and energy considerations are being taken into account. The Goal of this directive is to reach total energy efficiency of zero-emmission standards for all new buildings by the year 2021.
In order to place people at the center of our research and to validate this principle, we began with a series of discussions in 2015 under the title “Superstation“, during which we invited a wide range of different people for interviews. Our intention was to gather as much information about future users as possible that would help us learn more about waiting areas and to define perimeters that seem relevant to quality and to the needs of the interviewed persons. In order to obtain an image of what WAITING means to passengers in transit, their visions and rituals of waiting, and their accounts of being on the go were documented in very personal mobility portraits. The interviews were analyzed based on the Grounded Theory guidelines, a systematic methodology of analysis developed by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss. This particular scientific approach allowed us to contextually integrate technical literature, best-practice studies, quantitative surveys, and many years of practical experience in the public transportation sector gained by our office, into our analysis. Gradually, through the process of programming and conceptual development, building stones and new insight for the themes “Waiting” and “Quality of Waiting” were gathered.
The Austrian rail network situation can be characterized as a large amount of smaller dimensioned stations, each of which are considered important to the ÖBB in regard to quality. Scalability, sustainability, zero net energy, function, and comfort are part of a homogenous and systematic approach, and fundamental aspects of our research. The “New Environments of Mobility“ are micro-architectural, climatically conditioned station modules of the future. They are strategically positionable on the interface of various intermodal transport hubs. They are reproducible, flexible in design, and adaptable in scale to their surroundings, as well as to site-specific demands, with energy self-sufficient technology that can be applied thoughout Austria. The modules
run fully integrated into the operational functions of the station and include modular furnishing systems that are repeated at each station, promoting a harmonious corporate identity. These properties are the essential conditions needed to create a systematic and modular furnishing system for all Austrian stations, independent from size, scale or surroundings, with a qualitative approach identical throughout the rail network. A small station should provide the same quality and level of comfort that a mid-sized, multi-module station has to offer. This promotes value and becomes a meaningful catalyst for the user´s choice of transporation