A Station for Citizens

A draughty passageway you try to leave as quickly as possible – that’s exactly what the northern German town of Grevesmühlen did not want. When Deutsche Bahn put the run-down brick building in the centre of the town up for sale, the town bought it without hesitation. Together with a network of inkl.Design and partners they want to make the train station a central venue for the citizens again.

Right from the beginning we “inkls” have been involved in this project. Because the citizens of Grevesmühlen want it to be not only functional but also innovatively and finely designed. And that involves all the people using the train station. In cooperation with the disability counselor of the district, we are responsible for accessibility inside the station, as well as a pioneering sign­posting system.

And that’s the “Citizens’ Station” in Greves­mühlen today: the ground floor offers an inviting café, travellers find all the infrastructure they need. The centerpiece: a glass waiting room under a historic porch, where travellers and locals meet. The upper floor accommodates more community facilities.

The station is a prime example of inclusion in every detail. All charmingly designed pictograms in the building are tactile. The markings on the glass surfaces in the winter garden, making life safer for visually challenged people, are customdesigned for Grevesmühlen station.

An elegant and harmonious solution away from the usual dot and string monotony was found: besides signs in braille a system of guidance strips and full accessibility to the platform, a tactile model of the entire station facility completes the accessibility for differently abled people. The model in front of the main building is, of course, designed for wheelchair users as well and thus truly leading the way for the whole project.

After a walkthrough with the Disability Advisory Board the praise was unanimous: The citizens’ station of Grevesmühlen is a prime example of accessibility for the whole region.

That’s really good, because the guests from one out of two hotels on the baltic sea coast, that are suitable for blind people usually travel through Grevesmühlen.

Exterior view of Grevesmühlen station. The platform with a red train in the foreground. In the background we see the station with the glass façade of the winter garden.
A green area with different indicated features
Individual pane marking according to DIN 18040
Many people with and without disabilities during the opening of the Bürgerbahnhof Grevesmühlen
Pictograms of a person in a wheelchair and a person with a wheeled suitcase, to mark the barrier-free accesses
Historical photograph of the platform of Grevesmühlen railway station, ca. 1900
Test print with different colour fields for the signage of the civic railway station
Photograph taken from an interior room of the station before the start of the refurbishment in 2014
Inclusion brand in Germany
A light blue area with different indicated features
Gregor Strutz next to one of the signs of the guidance system
Photo of a hand with smartphone taking a picture of a section of the tactile overview plan of the ground floor of the Bürgerbahnhof.
Photo with blue and white balloons for the inauguration ceremony
hoto shows a craftsman adjusting the refurbished historic station clock.
Illustration of the waiting room pictogram
A purple surface with different hinted features
Photo of a visitor at the tactile map in the entrance area of the Bürgerbahnhof
Photo of a tactile handrail inscription in Braille and profile lettering
Photo of the glazed conservatory with café and waiting room at the Bürgerbahnhof
Detail photo from the process of creating a city map, which is displayed in the Citizens' Railway Station
Historical photo of a train arrival at Grevesmühlen station over 100 years ago
Detail photo of the door signage of all rooms in the Bürgerbahnhof: the tactile room numbers in Braille and profiled lettering are easy to recognise

Graphic Concept

Layout of a black sign. In large letters it says "Welcome to Grevesmühlen". Above it is a hand raising a hat in the old-fashioned way of greeting.
Section of the general plan of the station showing the different routes from the station building to the platform.
Illustration of the Grevesmühlen town map with route markers from the Bürgerbahnhof (citizens' railway station)
Illustration of pictograms for route orientation to and from the platforms
Illustration of pictograms for orientation in the civic station and for tourist activities
Image of stylised trains. They are used in different places in the station building to visually mark panes for visually impaired people
Dimensioned drawing of the Bürgerbahnhof with the Grevesmühlen station sign redesigned by inkl. design

Wayfinding System

Exterior photo of the renovated Bürgerbahnhof with Grevesmühlen station sign. In the foreground, the newly built winter garden as a waiting room with large window panes marked with our train motifs.
Layout for the location of information pillars in the vicinity of the Civic Station
Detail photo of window panes with stylised railway motifs
Photo of a sign with information about the entrance for wheelchair users
Photo with a view of the entrance area and the arrangement of visually impaired-friendly orientation signs
Photo of orientation signs in the entrance area
Photo in the depth of the entrance hall with toilet hint
Photo with orientation board for floor identification in one of the two staircases
Photo with orientation board for floor identification in one of the two staircases
Photo of an orientation board for marking rooms on a floor

Inclusive Elements

Photos of the toilet signage with tactile pictograms and separate marking in Braille
Photo of a tactile plan for the ground floor in the Bürgerbahnhof
Detail photo of a horizontally arranged information sign with Braille

Tactile Model

Three-dimensional view of the station building and its surroundings with the help of a computer programme. The building itself and the surroundings have a glossy white surface. The tactile elements, such as dotted lines and inscriptions in Braille and profile writing, are black.
gif animation of the various work steps
Three-dimensional detailed view of the tactile plan with the help of a computer programme. The platform with stairs is shown, including the inscription "Stairs" in profile and braille. A black triangle shows the direction.
Three-dimensional detailed view of the tactile plan as a rendering. The area in front of the station building is shown, where the tactile plan will later be installed. The directions and the inscription "Your location" in profile letters and Braille can be seen.

Project Details

Project Scope: Analysis of orientation needs, consulting for planning services of the tactile floor indicators in the outdoor area, conception of wayfinding system, conception of barrier-free elements (2-sense principle), conception and creation of 3d-data of tactile models and scanning plans in exterior and interior, icon family, city map of Grevesmühlen, maps of the railway station, layout and graphic design, production management