Eurostar Architecture: Comparing High-Speed Rail Stations in Europe

  • Fabian WennerEmail author


The spread of high-speed rail (HSR) in Europe since the 1980s has reinvigorated the role of railway stations as both spaces of public encounter and transport nodes. In reaction to the re-emerging task to design new passenger railway stations, several European railway companies have been attempting to underline this role by drawing on iconic architecture, sometimes assigning the task to star architects. This chapter explores the geographical distribution and motivations behind this strategy and presents the findings of a quantitative, comparative research across 73 railway stations in 10 European countries that have been newly built or replaced as part of HSR development. Architects’ ‘star status’ and the public and professional recognition of their station buildings were measured using a novel approach of architecture and tourism database analysis. The chapter concludes that star architecture for HSR stations is not always utilised in proportion to the importance of a station as a transport node. It is most often applied in urban sub-centres and at airport stations, less so in city centre locations. Public recognition of stations is not significantly linked to the ‘stardom’ of the architect, while professional recognition is. The most popular HSR stations remain refurbished, traditional inner-city stations.


Star architecture High-speed rail Railway stations Station architecture 



Data collection for this study was substantially and kindly supported by students from TUM’s Urbanism and Architecture programmes as well as guest researchers. These were Cemal Akçiçek, Lubna Al Sammak, Khoi Anh Dang, Lukas Ferstl, Lucie Heinz, Lucas Schneider Zimmer and Isabella Traeger.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technische Universität München, Chair of Urban DevelopmentMunichGermany

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