Inspired by railway design, Rotterdam’s new Centraal Station was built by Team CS, a team of great architectural studios including Benthem Crouwel Architects. The building has a huge all-glass roof covering the tracks, made up of little pitched roofs which in turn are made up of 10,000 sqm of photovoltaic cells capable of generating 320 megawatts/year. The entire structure is supported by Y-shaped pillars painted black, which support the main girders, abutting lighter secondary girders, kept rigid by metal tie rods that perfectly match the frames of the roof.
The big entrance, which looks like a huge volumetric explosion in the floor plan, is designed to underline the dynamism of the new high-speed trains. The exterior of the entire body is covered with smooth sheets of metal which are laid together so that they look like old railway cars. One interesting aspect of the project is the decision to cut the sheet metal rectangularly, avoiding the hidden folds that would improve its rigidity and produce a perfectly straight surface. These ones, on the other hand, appear slightly wavy and, as a result of the architects’ precise calculations, give the building an antique look, an unusual wet look which contrasts with the perfection of the glass used elsewhere in the building.
Wood is the key material inside the concourse, included in the overall project through use of long planks on the façade, the loggia and the interiors, taking advantage of the fact that it can be replaced easily when necessary.
The long, slender profile that breaks up on the south side to become the entrance wall ends in a rounded cusp. Part of this becomes the arcade at the entrance, while part frames the imposing glass façade bearing the name of the station and the clock from the old station, built in 1957 and now demolished.
Client: Gemeente Rotterdam and ProRail
Architect: Team CS: a cooperation between Benthem Crouwel Architects, MVSA Meyer en van Schooten Architecten and West 8
Gross floor area: 46,000 m2
Gross floor area urban design: 50,000 m2
Start design: 2003
Start construction: 2007
Location: Stationsplein 1, 3013 AJ Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Lead architects: Jan Benthem, Marcel Blom, Adriaan Geuze, Jeroen van Schooten
Projectteam: Arman Akdogan, Anja Blechen, Freek Boerwinkel, Amir Farokhian, Joost Koningen, Joost van Noort, Falk Schneeman, Daphne Schuit, Matthijs Smit (†), Andrew Tang, Wouter Thijssen, Joost Vos
Structural engineer: Arcadis and Gemeentewerken Rotterdam
Mechanical services: Arcadis and Gemeentewerken Rotterdam
Building physics: Arcadis and Gemeentewerken Rotterdam
Contractor: Bouwcombinatie TBI Rotterdam Centraal (BTRC) Iemants NV (zuidhal)
Photographers: Jannes Linders, Iwan Baan, Skeyes, Luke Harley
Websites: www.benthemcrouwel.nl www.mvsa-architects.com www.west8.nl