Brno Main Station

Snøhetta's Proposal for the Largest Architectural Competition of the Czech Republic

Although seeing the latest ZOA renders on a huge screen is always kind of astonishing, lately, we’ve realized that as years go by, it’s getting harder and harder to amaze our studio.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re still thrilled to see what our team is capable of, but the problem with constant high quality is that it’s very easy to get used to it. 

What got ZOA stunned at first, became the standard: extraordinary is the new ordinary.

For our colleagues, who already have spent more years at the office, this experience is even more recognizable.

And still, the moment, when we first watched the Brno station animation together, we felt like time stopped for a moment, since none of us had seen anything similar before, done by these guys.

If you follow us on a regular basis, you probably are aware of the fact that each time we have the opportunity to team up with Snøhetta, we take our job very seriously. When we were asked to work on their design prepared for the largest architectural competition of the Czech Republic—organized by the city of Brno—so far, as always, we could hardly wait to start working on the project.

It’s been an issue for ages to redesign one of the oldest train stations of the city—that will, actually become more than just a train station: it will be a transportation hub center with local trains, tram lines and city buses, regional bus stations, metro stations, car and bicycle parking and passenger services that truly desires to connect the city and its citizens. 

In order to showcase Snøhetta’s extravagant idea, we decided to build up the whole structure with its landscape surroundings from bottom up, layer by layer, to explain and showcase the different functions hidden below the roof and the railway tracks. We created a non-photorealistic, stylized, descriptive animation that matched our intention to highlight the interconnecting functions and tell the meaning of the new railway station—rather than getting lost in all the details of materiality and entourage of our usual photo-realistic animation style.

After creating the first storyboard based on the case study, we presented our first animation sketch. In the beginning of the process we wanted seamless transitions all throughout the film to ensure the viewer has a continuous flow of experience while watching the film, however we finetuned the storyboard and used a one-camera setup as it helps the user to understand the space much easier. Not to mention that—given the super-low rendering times—we could re-render the whole animation in a couple of hours which helped us to push our experiments with camera, graphics and animations to its limits. 

The way one scene basically flows into the other, completed with the sound of a clattering train and the intensifying sound of a heartbeat all strengthen the feeling of traveling and give the intention of actually standing in the station: which is supposed to be the New Heart of Brno.

Sometimes, the simplest solutions work the most, so let some numbers do the talking to convince you this animation is worth watching (more than 2 times): 1 single frame equals 30 sec rendering time.

Adjusting and synchronizing every single vehicle in motion, simulating 3600 people—mixing anima, 3ds Max populate and still people, and creating five amazing still images on top, all within 6 weeks.

Oh, there’s one more thing besides the numbers. Trust us, despite the work experience, it’s never easy to handle, or to remember, as many projects as we usually do. And still, when our Art Director who was the leader of this one was asked to give some insight of the process, and the challenges they had to overcome, we could see the same enthusiasm and excitement, even though he has been one of the basic pillars of the office from the beginning.

This is how much this animation means to us.

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Brno, Czech Republic



City of Brno


Róbert Andrékó
Balázs Balogh
Mohammed Elnabarawy
Bence Falussy
Matteo Piccini
Fabio Tavola


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