20-year development of Arnhem Central Station complete
19 November 2015 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
A newly completed futuristic Arnhem Central Station has opened its doors following a 20-year redevelopment project at a cost of €37.5 million.
Redevelopment of the original 1950s Arnhem Central Station and its locality is the result of the largest post-war development programme seen in the Netherlands. Designed by architects UNStudio and backed by the Dutch government, the station’s 5,355m2 main transfer terminal is said to ‘rewrite the rulebook on train stations and is the most complex of its type in Europe.’ The new station will become an important transport node between Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The new terminal houses commercial areas and a conference centre, providing links to the nearby office plaza, city centre, underground parking garage and the Park Sonsbeek. In addition, the neighbourhood surrounding the station has been transformed with 160,000m2 of offices, shops and a cinema complex.
Arnhem Central Station features a 60m column free transfer hall
The 21,750m2 Transfer Terminal features a dramatic twisting structural roof geometry which takes reference from the continuous inside/outside surface of a Klein bottle. The design seamlessly continues the exterior urban landscape into the 60m column free transfer hall. The structure of the roof and twisting column was only made possible by abandoning traditional construction methods and materials; much lighter steel replaced concrete – originally intended for the station – and was constructed using boat building techniques on a scale never before attempted.
“Arnhem Central is no longer just a train station. It has become a transfer hub. We wanted to give a new and vital impetus to station design, so rather than merely designing the station around the activities and people flows that already took place there, the expanded architecture of the new Transfer Terminal directs and determines how people use and move around the building” said Ben van Berkel, founder and principal architect of UNStudio.
The original concept was brought about in 1996, on behalf of Dutch railway network operator ProRail B.V. The project has been delivered on time and on budget thanks to a collaboration between key stakeholders, ProRail, Contractor Combination Ballast Nedam – BAM, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Arnhem City Council. The project is part of a countrywide railway upgrade that will see new stations in Rotterdam, Delft, The Hague, Breda and Utrecht.
Karin van Helmond, Project Manager Station Development at ProRail, said: “To keep all stakeholders on board and on the right track during the long journey to completion was a real challenge. In the past twenty years many things changed in the economy, technology, politics and social environment. By focusing on our ultimate goal, the actual building of this magnificent station, we succeeded in overcoming all setbacks and risks and by working closely together we got this unprecedented job done”.