Most pedestrian underpasses are unpleasant - and at worst, scary and dangerous at night. But that doesn’t have to be the case. A stunning example to the potential of the pedestrian underpass is Dutch architects Benthem Crouwel’s recently completed Cuyperspassage, a cycling and pedestrian tunnel that runs underneath Amsterdam Central Station. Partly covered with a beautiful tiled mural, the well-lit and round-edged tunnel is elegantly designed to look like a piece of art.
Developed as part of Amsterdam Central Station’s overall masterplan, the Cuyperspassage is a 110-meter-long tunnel open 24 hours a day that connects the city of Amsterdam with the IJ-river. The design emphasizes safety and comfort through the separation of traffic—pedestrians are on the left side and cyclists on the right—as well as the inclusion of bright lights and LEDs that run along the raised edge of the footpath. The clear division between pedestrian and cyclist traffic is also made evident through a stark visual contrast: the pedestrian side is elevated and lined with smooth handmade tiles with a light color palette; in contrast, the cyclist side is flush with the street, much darker in appearance, paved with sound-absorbing asphalt, and surrounded on two sides by steel grates.
A beautiful blue mural designed by the Irma Boom Office covers the curved wall of the footpath and is covered with nearly 80,000 vintage Delft Blue tiles. The mural depicts an interpretation of Rotterdam painter Cornelis Boumeester’s 17th century maritime paintings. As pedestrians move closer to the river, the mural morphs from detailed paintings of ships to more abstract forms. The curved walls, steel grates, and well-lit environment are also designed to deter graffiti and trash.
Via Fast Company
Images © Jannes Linders