Bijlmer ArenA Station
The Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA Station is situated 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.
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.
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. The design by Grimshaw and Arcadis Architecten adds four extra tracks to the station.
Because the station had to remain open for the entire duration of construction a viaduct carrying an 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.
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 stabilizer 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 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.