Trans Siberian Pit Stops Competition
with Sasha Topolnytska
A brief rest during a journey, a temporary deviation from a direct course. A pause in a continuous trajectory of travel. The idea of the “pit stop” implies a space that sits between the linear movement of a journey and the stationary presence of a local town. For passengers on the Trans Siberian Railway, the pit stop is a haven, a refuge, a sanctuary. It is inherently a domestic space, providing the comforts of the house as a complement to the transient nomadism of the train.
The proposed building is inspired by the traditional residential architecture of Siberia - the ‘pechka, or traditional Russian masonry oven, the pitched roof, chimney, and porch, and offers a supplemental program adopted from the traditional Russian ‘banya’, or sauna. Here travelers experience the warmth, steam, and cleansing ritual that is deeply connected the remoteness, the land, and the history of the place. It is most appropriately sited in the small, rural towns along the railway, towns without a strong influence of tourism.
The structure treads lightly on the ground, floating on a wooden deck above the landscape. The elements are organized around a central hearth which heats both the information kiosk as well as a covered outdoor seating area through thermal convection. The banya is accessed through a sequence of dry to wet spaces, and upon arriving to the final resting place of the steam room, offers an uninterrupted view out to the landscape.
 definition of ‘pit stop’ per Merriam-Webster.com