By Helen Arnd and Stefanie Zillner
Stepping out of the train at Rotterdam Central Station, it doesn’t look like a very innovative and modern station to us. Cable drums, huge hoardings, dust, dirt and busy workers characterize the appearance.
Until now! Within two years, the new Central Station will officially be opened.
The old Central station has become obsolete: As it was built for a small amount of passengers it became too small after a short time. With a growing number of travelers, more and more shops were opened in the concourse. This resulted in even less space for the passengers.
Another problem was access to the station. When Rotterdam Centraal was built in the 1960’s, the car was the most important means of transport. Therefore, the parking lot right in front of the building and the accessibility by car were mainly considered during the construction. Bus, metro or bike got the short end of the stick.
The architects of the new Central station learned from those mistakes.
Stepping out of the train in 2014, we will be able to stride down
the new 49 meter wide passageway roofed with wooden beams. Although we will be wandering with nearly three times more than the current number of
passengers, the more efficiently used space with shops now lining both sides of the passage will make us feel exclusive.
A new carpark is only one way to reach the station. More focus is given to the metro station two levels under the main level which is directly linked to subterranean bicycle garage for approximately 5,000 bikes. As the number of bikes will be more than doubled by that time, a new storage will be built with space for another 1650 bikes. A good start, but to make sure that even the last student can lock his bike safely, more space is needed.
For those without car or bike, the bus will be waiting right outside the station.
Instead of hurrying through the old dull and grey station forecourt we will have a nice walk in a tranquil and green area that connects the station to the city. We can sit down in one of the new cafés or restaurants and watch the people passing by.
For a light and lively atmosphere, the roof of the departure platform is made completely out of glass.
However, the architects did not only think about a nice appearance. The new station shall be an example for sustainable building.
The glass roof is featured with strategically positioned solar cells that partly cover the energy consumption of the station. A rainwater separate system completes the high tech roof.
It is hard to imagine that all this shall be finished within two years time. On our next trip to Rotterdam, we will be most curious when the train enters the station.