Belfort Train Station Building, TGV France, French Railway Architecture

Belfort Train Station : Railway Building in France

French Train Station building design by AREP

23 Jul 2012

Gare de Belfort-Montbéliard TGV

Design: AREP Architects

Belfort Train Station Building

Location: near Meroux, Territoire de Belfort département, Franche-Comté région, north-east France

Nouvelles gares TGV Rhin-Rhône, 19 décembre 2011 – Gare de Belfort-Montbéliard TGV

Arch.: JM Duthilleul, F. Bonnefille, J-F Blassel, Agence Territoires (Paysagiste) SNCF-AREP

Belfort Train Station Belfort Train Station building Belfort Train Station France French Train Station building
photos : Vigneau Mathieu

Belfort-Montbéliard TGV railway station

This new station on the Rhin-Rhône LGV high-speed rail line is located near Meroux, a village in the Territoire de Belfort département in the Franche-Comté region. It has been built inside a 60-hectare “shared zone” allocated for the development of a business park.

Designed as an intermodal link between the rail infrastructure and the region, Belfort-Montbéliard TGV station brings together all the conurbation’s transport systems and will soon connect with the new Belfort-Delle railway line to Switzerland.

The building is characterized by its elongated trapezoid shape, the cantilevered roof over the main entrance to the south, and the wider volume of the passenger hall which extends to the central platform. Its glass façade to the north offers a panoramic view of the Vosges hills. The hall is laid out perpendicular to the railway lines, providing easy access for travellers arriving at the station by bus, taxi or car, and guiding them intuitively towards the trains.

Travellers entering the station are drawn by the light and the view to the walkways down to the railway platforms. Winding around two escalators in scissor formation, a 1:10 ramp runs from top to bottom of the glass volume.

Belfort Train Station Belfort Train Station building Belfort Train Station France French Train Station building
photos : Vigneau Mathieu

The building also has a floor partly below ground level, for technical and service rooms, and a lower level with a waiting area giving onto the single central platform.

The station expresses synthesis between technology and nature: its metal superstructure evokes local expertise (coachbuilding, boilermaking, the automobile and rail industries), while natural materials are used in the glue-laminated timber structure and interior facing in lathing. It is also one of the first stations in France to obtain High Environmental Quality (HEQ) certification, in recognition of the technologies used in its design.

Contracting owner: SNCF Gares & Connexions
Project management: consortium comprising SNCF Gares & Connexions (Jean-Marie Duthilleul, François Bonnefille, Fabienne Couvert); Jean-François Blassel, architect; Agence Territoires (landscaping); AREP (Étienne Tricaud)
Total cost: approx. €26 million
Delivery: Dec 2011

The environmental aspect of the project covers two main objectives: optimization of energy consumption by using geothermal energy, and collection of roof rainwater and runoff water.

The building’s west and east façades consist of horizontal glass panels and top-hung vents. To protect the building from the sun and create a continuous envelope, the metal skin is extended in front of the transparent areas, where it is 50% perforated. Tilted glazed panels on the roof increase natural lighting in the passenger hall. Their technical performance prevents overheating in summer.

French Train Station building
photo : Vigneau Mathieu

Renewable energy systems for thermal comfort of travellers The temperature in the station is controlled by a system of underground geothermal air exchangers. Outside air is sucked into an underground conduit where it cools in summer and heats in winter to supply natural cooling or preheating.

For the first time in a French railway station, vertical geothermal probes connected to heat pumps have also been installed to supplement thermal energy needs. Enough heat is produced to supply the heating, hot water and ventilation networks.
Additional heating for the station premises is provided by:

– radiant floor heating for the passenger hall and waiting areas.
– ceiling-mounted air conditioning units for other areas.
– warm water radiators with thermostatic valves, for the washrooms and other rooms.

The geothermal probes also allow production of cool air, which is fed to the radiant floors and the ventilation system to cool the station in hot weather.

Ventilation in each area is adjusted by means of optical detectors, according to human presence and the level of activity, in order to optimize consumption.

A sun-friendly roof

A 300 m2 photovoltaic covering produces 27.95 kWhEp/m2 of electricity, representing 20% of the station’s primary energy consumption. Its overall energy consumption (heating + cooling + lighting + auxiliaries) amounts to 137.58 kWh Ep/m2. Also on the roof, a solar power station with 14 sensors covers over 50% of annual hot water requirements. In addition to the solar production, the installation includes a water heater fed by hot water.

Gare de Belfort-Montbéliard TGV, en cours d’achèvement (Nov. 2011)
Arch.: JM Duthilleul, F. Bonnefille, J-F Blassel, Agence Territoires (Paysagiste SNCF-AREP):
Belfort Train Station
photo : M. VIGNEAU


A rainwater collection principle designed to meet environmental requirements is applied at Belfort-Montbéliard station as part of the car park design. The system recovers all rainwater from the road and parking surfaces, pedestrian walkways, and station roofing. The aim is to filter this water on site and minimize discharge of pollutants into the drains.

The principle relies on two systems:

– a planted thalweg which collects runoff water. It reduces and delays rainwater flow to the drains by increasing evaporation and seepage into the ground. It comprises four caissons which can fill up and ensure a low, regular maximum discharge flow.

– planted channels providing phytofiltration of runoff water. The channels are sown with grasses specially chosen for their filtering qualities. Water collected from road surfaces is cleaned here first and then flows through an oil separation system to remove mud and oil before it returns to the thalweg.

Inauguration des nouvelles gares TGV Rhin-Rhône, 1er décembre 2011 – Gare de Belfort-Montbéliard TGV
Arch.: JM Duthilleul, F. Bonnefille, J-F Blassel, Agence Territoires (Paysagiste SNCF-AREP):
Belfort Train Station
photo : C. Delettre

Belfort Train Station images / information from AREP

Location: Belfort, France

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