Although not totally destroyed by Allied bombing during the infamous Dresden Raids, the station was badly damaged and suffered further from unsympathetic repairs and alterations. It is symbolically appropriate that the new work should have been designed by a British practice. Foster + Partners won this competition on the strength of their proposal to re-roof the damaged late nineteenth century train shed with a lightweight fabric roof, instead of reproducing the heavy timber and glass roof that had previously existed. This allowed a light touch to the repair of the steelwork, as well as providing 13% more natural light.
It is the aesthetic effect that is chiefly remarkable, both for the fine quality of the diffused light through the white fabric roof and for its formal qualities. Instead of the parallel linear roofs and gutters of the original, the new fabric is pulled tightly down into the springing points of the arches in alternate bays, forming a fan vault somewhat reminiscent of that of King’s College Chapel