Schwarzatal, Rottenbach Railway Station

Schwarzatal, Rottenbach Railway Station

Gateway to a region: A local cooperative for local provisions

“What was once a simple rural transport interchange is now an interchange between asphalt and plant beds, between discounters and cooperatives, between globalisation and regional cycles – in short a showcase example of StadtLand.”
Prof. Andreas Wolf, former member of the IBA Thüringen Advisory Board

The train still runs but the station is closed – a situation that is typical of many rural areas. Königsee in the Schwarzatal is no different, although it was once a tourist destination, a centre for agriculture and home to medium-sized businesses.

But since 5 July 2019, the long-vacated railway station in Rottenbach has been revitalised as a gateway to the Schwarzatal. The former railways station has been transformed into a local shop and community meeting place.

The renovation of the listed station building was carried out by Baubüro Lehninger from Gotha.

The new BahnHofladenis run by a cooperative of local producers founded in 2015 that sells its own regional products alongside general goods. The shop serves residents and visitors alike, providing groceries and local produce to the community. Without it, there would be no other shops in the vicinity.

The BahnHofladen was designed by K2L architects from Leipzig and completed in 2019. The shop opened its doors for business on 7 July 2019.

A special feature of the new shop is that it can be used flexibly – as a shop and as a meeting place for the local community. The project is a testimony to the exceptional civic commitment of the local people and the “BahnHofladen e.G.” cooperative, which actively participated in the design and development of the project.

The station forecourt has also been redesigned to function once again as a transport interchange between bus, train, car and bicycle. Landscaped islands subdivide the expanse of asphalt, picking up local characteristics in their design, for example through the farm gardens encircled by picket fences. It is a sustainable solution that is the collective responsibility of the citizens.

The Thuringian Ministry for Infrastructure and Agriculture played a major role in promoting the IBA project. Further support was provided by the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE), the Thuringian State Office for Agriculture and Rural Areas (TLLLR), the Gera Office for Rural Development and Land Parcelling (ALF), the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt LEADER action group and investments in local public transport.

In 2020, Rottenbach railway station was awarded the special prize of the Pro-Rail Alliance “Station of the Year 2020” award.

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The new station is a showcase revitalisation project: the shop is modern while the station forecourt draws on local tradition. Designed by atelier le balto, it employs regional materials such as a wood and slate, and picks up traditional themes of the surrounding landscape, for example the wooden fencing.

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The station forecourt in Rottenbach was designed by atelier le balto.
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