Benthem Crouwel Architects, MVSA Architects and the landscape firm West 8 recently unveiled their remodel of Rotterdam Centraal Station, a gargantuan public transport hub that accommodates 110,000 people every day. Built in 1957, the station was in desperate need of renovation, especially as it's expected that the number of daily travelers will increase to 323,000 by 2025. In addition to a prominent steel canopy, the building features a more international interior, and has been designed to better integrate with the surrounding urban landscape.
On one side of the station is an area with a more historical aesthetic, which is why the northern entrance was designed to be more modest, so as not to overpower its surroundings. To the south however, the dramatic entranceway fights the high-rise urban center of Rotterdam for attention. Glass and wood cover the rest of the building, which was used to give the station a distinct set of characteristics, and hint at the contemporary nature of the city.
Inside the building, wooden beams provide a much more welcoming environment for passengers. Red-tinted floor slabs that were also used in the station’s forecourt help to create a smoother transition from the harsh steel exterior to the warm wooden interior. A glass roof fills the building with natural light, while staircases and elevator shafts allow the light to penetrate all the way through to the lowest levels.
Parking for 750 cars and 5200 bicycles is hidden away beneath the station, while more than a third of the entire roof is covered in solar cells, estimated to generate 320 megawatts per annum. The high-transparency cells ensure light is still able to reach the inside of the building, and also create an organic pattern of shadows that is continually changing on the station’s floor.
Images by Jannes Linders