Rotterdam Centraal Station's relationship to the existing urban fabric called for different treatments of its north and south facades.To call the commission for a new central railway station in Rotterdam complicated would be an understatement. The project had multiple clients, including the city council and the railway company ProRail. The program was complex, encompassing the north and south station halls, train platforms, concourse, commercial space, offices, outdoor public space, and more. Finally, there was the station’s relationship to Rotterdam itself: while city leaders envisioned the south entrance as a monumental gateway to the city, the proximity of an historic neighborhood to the north necessitated a more temperate approach. Team CS, a collaboration among Benthem Crouwel Architekten, MVSA Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, and West 8, achieved a balancing act with a multipart facade conceived over the project’s decade-long gestation. On the south, Rotterdam Centraal Station trumpets its presence with a swooping triangular stainless steel and glass entryway, while to the north a delicate glass-house exterior defers to the surrounding urban fabric. Team CS, which formed in response to the 2003 competition to design the station, began with a practical question: how should they cover the railroad tracks? Rotterdam Centraal Station serves Dutch Railways, the European High Speed Train network, and RandstadRail, the regional light rail system. Team CS wanted to enclose all of the tracks within a single structure, but they came up against two problems. First, the client team had budgeted for multiple freestanding shelters rather than a full roof. Second, this part of the project was designated a design-construct tender in which the winning contractor would have a high degree of control over the final design. To work around both issues, Team CS turned to an unusual source: agricultural buildings. “We started to come up with a project built from catalog materials, so efficient and so simple that any contractor would maybe think, ‘I’m going to build what they draw because then I can do a competition on being cheap, and then I don’t need to [reinvent] the wheel,’” explained West 8’s Geuze. For the spans, they chose prelaminated wood beams meant for barns and similar structures from GLC. They designed the five-acre roof as an oversized Venlo greenhouse. It comprises 30,000 laminated glass panels manufactured by Scheuten. Integrated solar cells, also provided by Scheuten, produce about one-third of the energy required to run Rotterdam Centraal Station’s escalators. The north facade of the station continues the glass house theme. “We [took] the roof and we pull[ed] it over to the facade and made the entire elevation out of that,” explained Geuze. “What is on the roof becomes vertically the same. In plan you see a zigzag sort of meandering facade.” By day, the glass reflects the nineteenth-century brick architecture characteristic of the Provenierswijk neighborhood in which the station is located. At night, the relatively modest entrance seems almost to fade into the sky, except for a slice of white LED lettering over the passenger portal. Rotterdam Centraal Station’s south facade, by contrast, is self consciously extroverted. The entryway, which spans 300 feet over the subway station, was given a “very sculptural identity,” said Geuze, with a triangular mouth framed by stainless steel panels. ME Construct welded the 30-foot-long panels one to another to create a non-permeable surface. Within the steel surround are horizontal glass panels (Scheuten) through which the vertical interior structural beams are visible. “This plays beautifully with the station because the roof makes a triangle. The horizontal and vertical lines are a beautiful composition within,” said Geuze. Two reminders of the 1957 central station, demolished to make way for the new iteration, make an appearance on the south facade. The first is the old station clock. The second is the historic sign, restored in LED. “They are in a beautiful font, blue neon letters,” said Geuze. “We put them very low on the facade, the letters. The font became a part of the identity.” While its preponderance of glass and stainless steel marks it as a contemporary creation, Rotterdam Centraal Station was inspired by historic precedents, like Los Angeles’ Union Station and the European railway stations of the 1800s. Geuze spoke of the interior’s warm material palette, including a rough wood ceiling by Verwol that bleeds onto the building’s south facade. “We thought we could learn a lot [from history] instead of making what is totally the [norm] today with granite from China,” he said. “We have to make a station which is part of this tradition of cathedrals, where the use and aging is relevant and interesting.”
Posts tagged with "Wood":
Korean architecture firm UTAA collaborated with three architecture students at the University of Seoul (Lee Sang-myeong, Ha Ki-seong, Baek Jong-ho) to spruce up a campus parking lot. The Rest Hole is created by wooden ribs installed into a largely vacant and underutilized space that lay at the base of a University dorm. The architects were saddled with task of transforming the dark and inefficient area into a warmer and inviting space conducive to relaxation and gatherings. Unsightly columns have been hidden behind a series of curvaceous wooden panels that fill out the vacancy beneath the dorm to form a rounded hall. As the enclosure extends into the parking lot, it constricts, a progression that creates the illusion that the space has been excavated. The hole is large enough to accommodate extra tables and seating in addition to those platforms naturally created by the curvature of the ribs. The organic forms and tones of the wooden womb stand in stark contrast to the drab rectilinearity of the surrounding buildings.
If you drop by the Cleveland Public Library to get lost in a book, you may find reprieve from modern life outside the library’s walls, thanks to a giant reading nest custom designed by New York artist Mark Reigelman and LAND Studio. The installation is the fourth in a series, called "See Also," which brings public art to the library's Eastman Reading Garden. It will be in place through October 18. The whirlwind of 10,000 palette boards and two-by-fours comprise a roost 13 feet tall and 36 feet across, reinforced with steel cable. Made from reclaimed wood from industrial sites in the Cleveland area, the nest creates an intimate, sheltered environment for reading or for staring at the perfectly framed sky.
|Brought to you by:|
A tree grows in the Colombiere Center ChapelIt all started with a beech tree that has lived for the past hundred years on the Colombiere Jesuit Brother’s bucolic 14-acre site in Baltimore, MD. The tree stands in plain view of the brothers’ new chapel, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ). Alfred Dragani, an associate with the firm and the lead on the project, said that “as our Jesuit clients expressed a greater desire for privacy, we began to study ways of designing a shroud behind the south and north facing glass walls of the chapel that would operate like light-modulating screens. Our hope was that we could simulate the effect of an actual tree canopy, resulting in a dappled and serene light.” Dragani and his team used digital modeling (Rhino and Grasshopper) to simulate daylight conditions in the chapel throughout the year and create an interior installation in the chapel made from perforated wood panels in an organic arrangement of overlapping planes within a repetitive steel framework. White Ash and ¾” thick Baltic birch plywood core panels of varying sizes and configurations were used for the “leaves.” Perforation with a ⅜” diameter spaced 1” on center were made using a CNC machine in order to give the wood panels a “diaphanous quality.” There are 95 panels in all, 48 on the south face and 47 on the north. They average 60 pounds apiece, though some are as heavy as 150 pounds. BCJ handed off their Rhino model to Amuneal, a metals manufacturer, who used it to develop a steel plate canopy armature that consisted of built-up sections of laser cut ¾” x 4” carbon steel plate bolted together to hold the 6,000+ pounds of wood. To install the wood and steel structure in the three-story high chapel ceiling (29’ 5” high), all the components were shipped and erected onsite. To make sure the installation would go smoothly, Dragani said that before “the final erection of the canopies, a full-scale mockup was built off site, reviewed by the project team and used to refine erection techniques and detailing.” The crucial part of this design is the delicate layering effect achieved with six tons of wood and steel. Dragani explained how assembling “the perforated panels at various angles generates a luminous field that approaches what one might experience when viewing light as it is passes through a natural tree canopy. Moments of direct light that permeate through larger apertures between panels are constantly changing and serve to animate the perforated wood shroud and the chapel floor and walls over the course of a day. The grain/direction of the perforations is always perpendicular to each panel’s longest edge, which helps to recall the metaphor of natural foliage.” Even though sound-proofing wasn’t one of their goals BCJ expected the perforated wood panels to have an acoustic impact on the space. A computer model showed that they didn’t improve the acoustic performance whatsoever. Still, the architectural canopy is not only structurally impressive, it also evokes the serene outdoor environment in an interior space. The brothers agree. While the non-traditional form of the chapel and even the tree canopy itself seems to have taken the Jesuit brothers by surprise, they appreciate how the presence of the canopy lends the chapel sanctuary a sense of sublime light and a state of repose appropriate to a place of worship.
Students and architects create a curving plywood canopy during this summer's Digital Architecture Laboratory workshopThis summer, Hunan University’s School of Architecture sponsored the Digital Architecture Laboratory (DAL), a workshop created to bring architects and students together to explore digital fabrication techniques. Hosted in Changsha, China, the workshop was led by Biao Hu, a professor with the university, and Yu Du, an architect with Zaha Hadid Architects. Suryansh Chandra, also with Zaha Hadid Architects, and Shuojiong Zhang, of UNstudio, were invited to participate as tutors for the workshop, which with a theme of “aggregated porosity” would explore variations in material density and the juxtaposition of solid forms with skeletal ones. Additionally, the project had to be a structure that provided shade and fit within an approximately 10-by-10-by-20-foot area. Using the concept of a waiting area outside an existing building, the team began the design process with a right-angled shell that resembled a typical bus shelter. The orthogonal grid was then stretched into an S shape, so that the lower curve formed a bench and the upper curve created a canopy. The form was rationalized into a grid of hexagonal components, each with a unique shape. By constraining three sides of each hexagon and allowing the other three sides to be changeable in length, the team was able to create a fluid, organic form, with curves and perforations, using a single shape. The canopy is supported by six L-shaped steel sections anchored to a wall. To these are attached set of six curving, laser-cut plywood ribs, which are cross-braced by additional ribs running parallel to the ground. Tensile steel mesh is fastened to this underlying grid, providing netting to which the hexagonal plywood panels could be attached. Made with off-the-shelf hardware pieces assembled into a customized circular joint, the fasteners allow each hexagon to be tuned by hand, ensuring panels are precisely positioned on the x, y, and, z axes.