In the works for two decades, the new UNStudio-designed train station for Arnhem, Netherlands—the city’s largest post-war development—has finally opened to the public. The 234,000-square-foot transfer hall, which features undulating steel forms reminiscent of Eero Saarinen’s futuristic TWA Terminal design, is a vibrant nexus and a core component of the Arnhem Central Masterplan.
The project began in 1996 when UNStudio won a design competition to replace a mid–20th century train station. The building, designed in collaboration with engineering firm Arup, comprises facilities and waiting areas for trains, trolley buses and a bus station, as well as shops, restaurants and a conference center. Two underground levels serve as bicycle storage and car parking.
With its unique design, founder and principal architect of UNStudio Ben van Berkel said in a statement that the aim was to “blur distinctions between inside and outside by continuing the urban landscape into the interior of the transfer hall, where ceilings, walls and floors all seamlessly transition into one another.”
Skylights make for a space that is infused with natural light, further emphasizing the connection to the outside.
The building’s curving structure required a departure from typical construction methods and materials. Lightweight steel was employed using boat-building techniques on a scale never before attempted, resulting in a column-free space with a fluid expression.
This seamlessness is translated into a complex network of ramps that move people around the station with ease and elegance. Additionally, purposeful lighting was designed to aid wayfinding. According to Van Berkel, the transfer hall “directs and determines how people use and move around the building.”
The new station serves as a link between the city center, the Coehoorn area, and a nearby office plaza, and is designed to accommodate a daily flow of 110,000 commuters by 2020, establishing itself as not just a train station, but as a vital nucleus for Arnhem and for the Netherlands.