With an average footfall of 110,000 a day, the Rotterdam Central Station is one of the most important transport hubs of the Netherlands. With an expected 3 fold increase in the number of daily commuters by 2025, the recently finished building by Team CS which consists of – Benthem Crouwel Architekts, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten and West 8, plays a crucial role in the high speed network of European Railway. To European travelers, it serves as the gateway to the Netherlands and to Dutch travelers, the gateway to Europe.
Along with responding to the conflicting visual timeline which surrounds it, the Rotterdam Central upholds the international standards that a building of its stature is expected to maintain. Team CS has responded to the dichotomous relationship between the northern and the southern edge of the site by creating an iconic public plaza that opens up to the modern metropolis that Rotterdam now is with its tall skyscrapers and high towers on its north and on its south a more sober, transparent facade towards the old residential Proveniersplein.
By relocating the trams to the eastern side of the station square, Team CS has conceptualized the plaza as a large open space that truly serves as a grand entrance to the city, free of any criss-crossing traffic. This experience is further ameliorated by the dramatic fold in the roof at the northern edge. The sheer scale of this entrance is contrasted by the use of wood as cladding that gives a warmer feeling to the whole station. On the inside though, transparent roofing allows light to percolate through and gives a very comfortable, open feeling to the entire space near the platform areas, which is quite a necessity during rush hour.
Embracing the historical character of the city as well as the modern aspect of it, the Rotterdam Central Station blends into the urban landscape of the city quite well, quite rightly matching some of the most posh cities in Europe such as London, Paris etc as well as playing the role of the important nodal point that it has become within the city of Rotterdam.
By: Shamita Chaudhry