Dresden wanted to establish itself as the centre of Central Europe, so it called in Foster and Partners to do something dramatic with its 19th-century station. This is what it got …
Work on THe first Foster and Partners' structure to be covered in Teflon, the material used for the Millennium Dome, has begun. The design for Dresden railway station in Germany is the keystone of the city's ambition to establish itself as the centre of a new network of high-speed railways across Central and Eastern Europe.

The station's handsome 1898 facade will be restored, but the most striking part of the masterplan for the area around the station is a swooping, translucent canopy that emerges from either side of the station and swathes the road in front of it. Slung over cathedralesque steel arches, this canopy will extend over the two railway bridges that have been built to accommodate the sleek 400 m long high-speed intercity expresses of the future.

Teflon-coated fibreglass was not the architect's first choice. "The spans were too big for ETFE," explains Sven Ollmann, project architect for Foster and Partners. "We looked at the options of a glazed or metal roof, but the existing structure couldn't take the weight. We wanted to bring as much light in as possible." Impressive though the plans are, they are a much reduced version of what was first envisaged. "Originally, we wanted to extend the canopy over the square next to the station as well," says Ollmann. "Everyone loved it – but we couldn't find the money." The client is Deutsche Bahn, the architect is Foster and Partners, the structural engineer for the roof is Buro Happold and the structural engineer for the existing building is Schmitt Stumpf Frühauf & Partner.