Rotterdam Centraal Station
2004-2017, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

In June 2004, Team CS, a cooperation between Benthem Crouwel Architects, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, and West 8, has received the commission to execute the vision presented for the new Rotterdam Central Station. West 8 is involved in the team as architects as well as urban designers and landscape architects.

Rotterdam Centraal Station is one of the most important transport hubs in The Netherlands. With 110,000 passengers a day the public transport terminal has as many travelers as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. In addition to the European network of the High Speed Train (HST), Rotterdam Centraal is also connected to the light rail system, RandstadRail. With the advent of both the HST and RandstadRail the number of daily travelers at Rotterdam Centraal is expected to increase to approximately 323,000 by 2025.

Rotterdam HST is the first stop in the Netherlands when travelling from the south and is strategically positioned in the middle of Europe, with Schiphol only twenty minutes and Paris a mere two and a half hours away. Hence the new station is not only larger, brighter and more orderly than the former, but also has an international feel; it beautifully complements both the efficiency of the Hispeed stop and the Rotterdam city’s bold ambitions for urban development and renewal. The station matches in all respects the practicality, capacity, comfort and allure, of the central stations of Madrid, Paris, London and Brussels.

Integration in urban environment.

One of the fundamental challenges of Rotterdam Centraal station was the difference in the urban character of the north and south side of the station. The entrance on the north side has a modest design, appropriate to the character of the neighborhood Provenierswijk and the smaller number of passengers. The entrance gradually connects to the city. In the Provenierswijk the character of the 19th-century Dutch provincial town is strengthened. Large architectural extensions are avoided on this side of the station, the presence of green is ameliorated and the station is transparent.

In contrast, the grand entrance on the city side is clearly the gateway to the high-rise urban center. Here the station derives its new international, metropolitan identity from the hall made of glass and wood. The roof of the hall, fully clad with stainless steel, gives rise to building’s iconic character and points to the heart of the city.

Now Rotterdam Centraal has the appropriate structure and dimensions for the urban landscape; it is in balance with the heights that characterize the metropolis and simultaneously reflects the human scale. The city of Rotterdam is drawn to the new station via the compaction of the small-scale urban texture surrounding the public transport terminal. The entire railway zone becomes one with the city. This finer urban texture with new sightlines and a mixture of living and working will dramatically improve the quality of life and the environment of the station area.

The esplanade in front of the station is a continuous public space. To achieve this simplicity a parking garage for 750 cars and a bicycle shed for 5,200 bicycles are located under the square. The tram station is moved to the east side of the station, so the platforms broaden the square. Bus, tram, taxi and the area for short-term parking are integrated into the existing urban fabric and do not constitute barriers. The red stone of the station floor continues into the forecourt, merging the station with the city. Pedestrian and cycling routes are pleasant and safe and arriving travelers now have dignified entrance to the city, free from traffic.

Interior and appearance

Incorporation of natural light, the warmth of the sun’s rays and a modern look are important elements in the design. The platform roof on the Proveniersside is transparent. When the train drives into the station, there is an almost tangible feeling of being enshrouded in the station building. Upon entering in the
bright high hall through the center side, the traveler gets an overview of the entire complex and a view to the trains that are waiting invitingly along the platforms.

The wood finish on the inside of the hall, combined with the structural wooden beams of the platform roof creates a warm and welcoming ambience, inviting visitors to linger. The largely transparent roof structure which covers all the tracks over a length of 250 meters, flood the platforms with light. The glass plates of the roof vary the level of light transmittance by utilizing different solar cells patterns, which produce an ever-changing and fascinating play of shadows on the platforms.

See also the design for the footbridge here

Prorail / Gemeente Rotterdam
Benthem Crouwel / Meyer & Van Schooten
American Architecture Prize 2017, Best Building of 2015 by Architects Association of the Netherlands (BNA), The Nederlandse Bouwprijs (Dutch Construction Award) 2015 in the Buildings Category, Architect of the Year 2014 for Team CS, Rotterdam Architectuurprijs (Rotterdam Architecture Prize) 2014, The Dutch Design Award (2014) in the Habitat Catergory, The International Brunel Award (2014) for outstanding railway architecture design in the Category I Station Buildings, The Nationale Staal Prijs in Non-Residential Construction category (2014), The Wood Architecture Prize (2014), The Daylight Award in non-residential buildings category (2014), StiB (Steden in Beweging = Cities in Motion) Award (2014) and Dutch Golden Phoenix Award in Area Transformation category (2014) 
Adriaan Geuze, Andrew Tang, Arman Akdogan, Christoph Elsässer, Daphne Schuit, Freek Boerwinkel, Joost Koningen, Juan Figueroa Calero, Martin Biewenga, Perry Maas, Ronald van Nugteren