waiting room

When flight and train departures are cancelled and delayed, I always wonder how people appropriate themselves of a waiting room, when they are confined by force, despite being free.

And I come across a picture of citizens using an underground station in London as an air raid shelter living-room during the IIWW. At the same time on the German side, there was an intense development of diverse typologies of waiting spaces. The Winkel Tower was a sharp invention to house 200-500 people in one compact infrastructure during bombing menace. These vertical overground bunkers were more economical to build than the underground ones, and extremely hard for bombers to hit, due to their minimised footprint on the territory.

Interior photographs show the variable benches distribution, where strangers should sit in a circle together all of a sudden, facing each other, or sharing a tiny common room in circular rows. The necessity of optimal use of such towers led to improved forms – such as the Zombeck one below – were inner stairs were even removed from the tower and replaced by a continuous spiral ramp surface. In order to test their efficacy, living goats would be placed inside the tower to check the minimum gap needed between the benches and the exterior 2-metre-thick wall so that users would not become deaf after any explosion outside.

Either in circles, rows or small clusters, we are always required to be quiet and sit down while waiting.

[1> London tube station used as air raid shelter via wikipedia] [2,3&7>from Michael Grube via darkroastedblend] [4> from M.Niehues via geschichtsspuren] [5&6>via Avi Abrams flickr] [8>Waiting room in Beijing South Railway station by deconcrete2010]

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