Innovative Modular Bus Stop

Date: 2013
Almaty (Kazakistan)
Project: Giancarlo Zema Design Group
Client: Almaty Municipality
Consultants: ARUP
Status: Ongoing

Like a mysterious butterfly cocoon, protective and welcoming, the Eco-Cocoon offers an innovative bus stop that is cutting-edge, ecologically sound, and modular. It is the brainchild of the Italian architect, Giancarlo Zema, and is intended to furnish the city of Almaty, in Kazakhstan, in a new and powerfully emotive way. Nine steel arches of varying heights form the structural skeleton of this space that offers information as well as somewhere to wait. A simple structure, modular, offering high performance through the use of technologically advanced materials that are at least 80% recyclable. Its organic shape is covered in painted aluminium panels that are smooth to the touch, thus slashing maintenance costs and ensuring water and snow simply slides off the structure, keeping the structure clean. On the roof, six large, high-capacity photo-voltaic panels capture sunlight and transform it into electricity, storing it during the day to allow it to be used during the night, resulting in huge energy savings. The transparent vertical surface is comprised of shatterproof glass with sliding doors that line up with the doors on the bus. The doors open automatically when the bus stops alongside. The paving is made of leak-proof eco-resins that are easy to clean and maintain over time. A series of bright displays, hung from the steel structures, show the arrival time and destination of the buses, while the intriguing, ergonomic seating – complete with large LED displays – make waiting agreeable. These last, present on both sides, offer information on the city, traffic / transport news updates, and can be used to display eye-catching publicity materials. The modularity of the system allows it to be configured according to the varied needs of the city. The basic version, with end doors, creates two quiet spaces, complete with tables and seating for long periods. With the ends removed, it is possible to connect multiple units in a seamless chain for stops served by multiple buses. Alternatively, the units can be mounted one in front of the other to create a genuine piece of architecture for use as an office, as a tourist information site, or as an exhibition space. The absence of hard lines, the softness of the shapes, and the perfect union of functional and aesthetic components, make this project ideal for enriching the cityscape, offering a strongly sculptural structure that nevertheless includes all the latest features.