The architects of ARCADIS and Grimshaw have recently won the BNA ‘Building of the year 2008’ architectural award for their work on the Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station. The award is an initiative of the Dutch Architects Association.
The jury was extremely impressed with this station. “This outstanding station building with its unparalleled appearance and its natural location is unique in the Netherlands. The heroic building is a model of workmanship. On top of this, it is a marvel of openness and far surpasses its function as public transport junction,” according to the jury. There were 25 nominees for this prestigious award.
During the award ceremony the winner was congratulated with the award by Minister Ronald Plasterk (Education, Culture & Science) through a special video message. The Minister called Bijlmer ArenA Station “a modern classic, of which we will still be proud a hundred years from now.” About the Amsterdam City Council and Prorail, who commissioned the building: “You do not only need inspired architects, but also clients who set high standards.”
The Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA station was inaugurated at the end of 2007 by princess Maxima. The design work already started in 1997. After the clients approved the draft design, the architects created this exceptional station building in cooperation with the technical engineers of ARCADIS. The station has been built together with contractor Besix Netherlands and Buyck Steel Construction.
The station is used by up to 60,000 passengers a day, with peaks of 25,000 passenger in an hour and a half when Ajax plays a game. Bolidt has fitted the entire station with the Boligrip wearing course.
Station Bijlmer is an integrated transit hub, consisting of rail, metro and bus services located in the Bijlmermeer neighborhood of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The station arches over the Arena Boulevard. The complex is almost 100 meters long, 70 m wide and 30 m tall.
"See and be seen" was the architect’s unique starting point of the building’s design. The main characteristic for the new station is transparency. It is mostly transparent, to blend in with the rest of the Boulevard.
The beautifully designed roof is 200 meters long with a height ranging from 20 to 30 meters. Abundant natural daylight enters through the large expanses of glass giving the passengers a good view, comfort and sense of security. The station is topped off with Wide Panel metal ceilings, by Hunter Douglas.
The original station from the 70th could not handle the increasing number of travelers and passengers anymore. This small and old station was too dark, had too narrow underpass and moreover breathed a gloomy atmosphere, which was perceived as unsafe. The new station is characterized by plenty of light and transparency.
Three constraints have played an important role in the development of the new station concept. First, the comfort for the travelers to be optimal and the social security were of a great importance. Secondly, a good connection between the districts on both sides has been a requirement, since the station was functioning as an important point of urban transportation system. Finally, all work had to be performed without train traffic being hampered. Travelers had to be able to continue traveling during the construction. A temporary station on the corner of Hoekenrodeplein served as a replacement. All this made the construction more complicated and time consuming.
The use of day lighting creates a safe and attractive station. The steel roof elements with the inside coating of unpainted wood (fire impregnated Oregon Pine) has received a "warm", distinguished look. The glass-domed roof which at the evening silhouetted against the dark sky is supported by large steel columns. This sturdy but slender supports resemble on the letter 'A'. The space between the concrete railway viaducts and the platforms on it is left wide open. For this the pedestrian experience on the boulevard is optimal
The concrete rail viaducts (viaducts with four on each of two tracks 10 meters above the ground) and the steel construction of the cap (29 meters high) are free from each other in order to separate the movements in both constructions. Under the railway viaducts through a 70 meter wide pedestrian zone (Boulevard) connect the ArenA area with shopping Amsterdam Port. A connection between east and west. Escalators and glass help to get from the subway to the elevated platforms and tracks. On the west side there was also constructed a large covered bus station. On the east side there are commercial spaces and newly created secure bicycle parking.
The new Intercity Station Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA has been undeniable allure. The use of quality materials, the scale and the careful design and detailing without a doubt has created a prestigious transport hub.
The architects of ARCADIS and Grimshaw have won the BNA 'Building of the Year 2008' with the Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena. The award is an initiative of the Dutch Architects Association. The jury was extremely impressed by this station. "This superior station building with its incomparable charisma and its natural position is unique in the Netherlands. The heroic building on all fronts is a paragon of craftsmanship. It is also a miracle of publicity that goes far beyond its function of public transportation, "said the jury. Furthermore, the jury praised the station canopy that creates a mesmerizing and pleasant space and a phenomenal light show.
Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA Station is situated on the southeast of the city on the line that links Amsterdam with Utrecht. To the west there is a commercial development area punctuated by the newly built Amsterdam Arena, a 50,000 seat football stadium. To the east there is a large residential area with a high proportion of social housing which has become home for large sections of Amsterdam’s immigrant population. Prior to this project, there were four tracks running on a raised earth embankment that split the area in two. The only pedestrian connection was a narrow and dark tunnel within the old suburban station.
On behalf of the City of Amsterdam, Dutch architect Pi de Bruijn proposed a 70m wide pedestrian boulevard aligned diagonally to the railway tracks to connect the two districts. Although initially ProRail were just planning to add a pair of 200km/h tracks on the Amsterdam-Utrecht line alongside the existing ones, they agreed to rebuild a 2km stretch of existing railway with the sole aim of increasing the available height above the planned boulevard by almost 2m. Both clients then agreed to pool funds in respect of a new station, which was to be a transport hub in respect of the national train service, the Amsterdam Metro, buses and taxis, and which was to be sized to cope with Arena crowds on major match days.
Grimshaw worked with Arcadis Architecten on the redevelopment of the station, which had to remain open for the entire duration of construction. This had an important influence on the final design. A viaduct carrying the extra pair of tracks was constructed first and trains from an existing pair of tracks were then rerouted onto it, liberating the latter area as a construction site. This area of embankment was then excavated against temporary sheet piling installed to retain the adjacent “live” one. The process was repeated until there were eight new tracks running at the raised level. The roof enclosure followed sequentially.
Every aspect of the design process was informed by the need to civilise these viaducts and to create a pleasant and safe ground level public space. To avoid a dark 100m long tunnel, the concrete structures were spaced apart. Each 20m span was supported at each end on just one column via an integrated cantilevered saddle. Arrays of columns were then aligned on axis with the boulevard to maximise visual connectivity from east to west. However, the most important decision concerned the roof design in general and its soffit treatment in particular. It is the modulation of this surface, its ribbons of roof glazing and its acoustically absorbent Oregon pine surfaces that convey civility from the perspective of the boulevard and the platforms below.
The base-element of the roof structure is a “V” shaped continuous hollow steel boom with steel arms cantilevered on either side to support all the roof glazing. The combined assembly is supported on a series of tubular “A” frames with only a single deep longitudinal stabiliser near the south end. Beyond their last supports these booms cantilever up to 18m thereby enhancing the sense of linearity and direction. The timber lined elements straddle each track-bed and are open at ridge level to assist natural ventilation and allow areas for pressure release in respect of 200k/h trains.
The lack of land to either side dictated a corresponding diagonal station hall facing the boulevard under the tracks. This diagonal slant dictated that the escalators, stair, lifts and roofs all be staggered. To signal the presence of the buried station hall from the surrounding area it was decided to gently arch each boom structure and to split all roof planes above the primary vertical circulation. The station’s angular aesthetic is derived from this methodology. The station is designed to provide a high level of social security both during the day and at night. Long voids are cut into the platforms to break down the overshadowed sections of the 100m wide area below the viaducts. These voids improve the sense of safety through visual contact and improved transparency between the platform and ground level areas. They also permit the boulevard and bus station areas to be flooded with natural light. The station hall and platforms are also designed for maximum transparency to improve the orientation of travellers within the building. Escalators, stairs and glazed lifts lead the public from the central ticket hall up to the platforms.
The building has been warmly received in Amsterdam and is generally perceived as a catalyst for the development of the area on both sides of the tracks. Several related projects are already under way, including a parade of shops facing the station hall on the boulevard’s north side and the complete overhaul of the square immediately to the east currently cluttered with a series of temporary buildings.