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A comfortable bus station for arctic conditions

03 October 2019, 05:28

En bekväm busshållplats för arktiska förhållanden

A new, experimental bus station, designed for arctic conditions, has been opened in Umeå to coincide with the EU’s Arctic Forum on the 2nd of October. The bus station is christened the “Station of being” – a place where travelers can “just be”, aimed at transforming a cold and boring wait into an unexpected, pleasant break. The “Station of being” is designed by RISE (Sweden) and Rombout Frieling Lab (The Netherlands).

The municipality of Umeå is involved in several sustainability projects, one of which is aimed at promoting travelling in a more sustainable way. Within the frame of this EU project (the Horizon 2020 Smart cities Lighthouse project: RUGGEDISED) the municipality gave RISE the challenge of making public transportation more attractive for the citizens of Umeå. This new bus station can be experienced at the stopping point ‘Universum’ in Umeå.

- The bus station ‘Station of being’ transforms the cold and boring experience of waiting into a transitional experience, a moment “to be” and to “change your state of being” before traveling a new location and other activities, says Rombout Frieling from Rombout Frieling Lab.

Waiting for a bus in Umeå occasionally means travelers standing on an icy pavement in a biting blizzard, desperately looking for their bus, or escaping reality through their mobile phone. These are factors that make using the bus less attractive in this region.

When the design team of RISE and Rombout Frieling Lab observed and interviewed travelers, they also noticed a habit to wait indoors, then quickly run towards the bus when it was just arriving. The travelers also mentioned the need to be more relaxed between activities. This shaped the idea of a bus station as a place to “just be”.

- To achieve this, we did two things; The bus station, not the travelers, is “looking out” for the bus to arrive. A smart ceiling with light and sound, also lets the travelers know that the bus is approaching. We understood that a lot of people had to desire to be outdoors, and were dressed for it, and that they preferred to stand after a lot of sitting during the day, says Nigel Papworth from RISE.

Hanging pods, sculpted from curved wood became part of the solution. These invite the traveler to lean and relax, while giving shelter by rotating to protect the traveler against the wind. The pods provide support and comfort, and also allows snow plowing machines to clear the bus station efficiently. Constructed from local wood, the bus station (“Station of being”) has an energy efficiency comparable to traditional bus stations.

For more information contact:


Albert Edman

+46 70 2971819

Rombout Frieling Lab

+31 6 41467059