Piotrkowska-Centrum tram station, aka the Unicorn Stable, in Łódź, Poland. Image by Аимаина хикари licensed under Creative Commons.

This is the central tram station in Łódź, Poland. It’s nicknamed the Unicorn Stable, because it’s made of rainbows and magic, obviously.

Technically the station is named Piotrkowska-Centrum. You can see it on the Łódź tramway map where the orange and blue lines come together.

It’s everything I think great urban architecture should be: simulltaneously intricately ornamented and unblushingly contemporary.

The most obvious feature is the colorful stained glass—actually a glass-like plastic—that lets in light and gives the inside an ethereal-seeming rainbow glow.

Image by Zorro2212 licensed under Creative Commons.

Equally dazzling are the intricate lattice columns holding up the roof.

Image by Zorro2212 licensed under Creative Commons.

The overall effect of an expansive, open ground level set under a high, ornamented top is something like a catheral, except light and airy and modern and devoted to transit.

Unicorn Stable stock photo from Martyn Jandula/Shutterstock.

I don’t know a whole lot about Łódź or its tram system. I have no idea if the Unicorn Stable operates efficiently or if its planners built it within budget. I learned about via Instagram, and all I can speak to are its aesthetics.

But aesthetics matter. It’s nice to have pretty things with your infrastructure.

And y’all, I love this so much.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado and lives in Trinidad, DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post. Dan blogs to express personal views, and does not take part in GGWash's political endorsement decisions.