Amsterdam Amstel Station dates from 1939 and was designed by the architects Schelling and Leupen and urban planner Van Eesteren. The national monument was seen as Schelling’s masterpiece, who had a major influence on twentieth-century railway architecture. The renovation and expansion of the station are aimed at the monumental values and adapting the station to the recovery consumers. The design of the renovated station is by the architectural firm Office Winhov, in association with Gottlieb Paludan Architects. The station will be launched on October 28.
The functional idea of the ‘optimized transport machine’ is a valuable and still current starting point for the design of the renovation. After the later renovation of the historic east side, several more will take place in the travelers domain in the coming years. In the new term the station can be provided with a new station concourse on the west side.
Refined brick, steel and natural stone
The Amstel station started as a job creation project in the crisis years. Those idealistic origins are still visible in the central hall, where two restored social-realist murals by Peter Alma depict the powerful power, romanticism and dynamism of the railways. Thanks to the special era of industrial-related functionalism and a special palette of materials – including natural stone – this building was way ahead of its time.
The building progressed well into the 21st century, but its grandeur deteriorated over time: many large and small interventions led to broken sightlines, clutter and the loss of spatial sequences: the colors were painted over and modern demands on the transport machine were met. ad hoc and with little feeling for the techniques. The station no longer functions as it was once intended.
Role of architect
In such a project, the architect’s role is to be invisible. It is essentially about restoring the monumental qualities and elements while carefully incorporating improvements in comfort and new functions that meet the expectations of the travellers. That calls for a restrained approach, in which new additions are designed within the historical, spatial and design idea of the existing building. It has continued to be built with the historic toolbox provided by Schelling and Leupen.
Just like the construction industry, there were special collaborations. ProRail, the NS and the Municipality of Amsterdam were involved in the project. Office Winhov also brought in the expertise of Gottlieb Paludan Architects, known for projects such as the Nørreport Station and the Central Station in Copenhagen. The connections between the different modes of transport were addressed, and also with the immediate environment and the rapidly changing city that had meanwhile surrounded it, the Amstel station had to be reconnected.
Renovation of the historic departure hall, roof of the bus station, refurbishment of the forecourt and expansion of the bicycle shed
Unlike one specific project completion date, the renovation resulted from a series of discrete interventions: from the reconstruction of the historic roof of the bus station, via the extension of the bicycle shed, to the refurbishment of the forecourt and finally the renovation of the historic departure hall.
Transformation that takes place step by step
‘I often compare our work as a station architect to gardening. It’s about taking responsibility to make the time for something. A transformation that takes place step by step. This was a unique experience for us,’ says Office Winhov partner Jan Peter Wingender. This process of helping a response also help the greater demand with existing, historic buildings in a dynamic, rapidly changing environment. Adaptive reuse is a strong starting point when mapping out the future of these buildings. It is a full-fledged assignment that requires a different approach and attitude from the architect.’
The opening of the historic hall marks the completion of the first series of interventions in the station. In the next phase, the passenger tunnel and the access to the platforms will be discussed. Finally, a new hall will be realized on the west side of the station, with Amsterdam Amstel Station getting its own, identified face.
Renovation and expansion of the national monument Amsterdam Amstel Station
Address: Julianaplein Amsterdam
Client: ProRail, NS stations, Municipality of Amsterdam
Design: Office Winhov in collaboration with Gottlieb Paludan Architects (DK)
Restoration mural: Davique Decorative Paintings (Jojanneke Post)
Photography: Lucas Hardonk, Wijnanda Duits, Jean-Pierre Jans, Stefan Mülle
Tags: Office Winhov, renovation, station, extension