Powerhouse Company in collaboration with De Zwarte Hond known as Team A has won an invited competition to redesign the Assen Station in the city of Assen, north-east Netherlands. The winning design was chosen from a shortlist of five, and aims to connect the provincial capital at both local and national levels. The Assen Station also marks the first station project for Team A.
The two firms were commissioned by NS, ProRail and the municipality of Assen to create a new building that will create a welcoming arrival, recover lost links between east and west sides of the city, and provide a fully functioning, modern and flexible transport hub.
A compelling and exciting interpretation of the brief to regenerate the station area. The design creates a clear and efficient transport hub. The striking building will give the area a new identity and ensure that it is pleasant to be in the station area. The reality will be a warm, welcoming and contemporary arrival point to the city.
A triangular-shaped canopy which spans from one side of the tracks to the other and each corner of which marks an entrance to the building brings the design together. This gesture plays a pivotal role in not only creating a strong and coherent identity for the project, but also in plugging into a wider urban landscape by which pedestrians and cyclists can pleasantly traverse the three-track railway to the city centre.
Constructed from an undulating laminated timber lattice structure, this roof accommodates the three programmes of the interior: the concourse with its general shop, florist, technical plant and bus driver staff room; the underground pedestrian tunnel; and a 2,600-bay bicycle storage and shop. While the concourse is retained to the west of the tracks in a glazed space with adaptable ‘rooms’, the pedestrian tunnel has been sunken beneath the tracks to facilitate more direct access to the platforms from both sides of the building. This area connects to the cycle parking, which is located beneath the concourse but which opens to the north onto the entrance of an existing east-west cycle tunnel.
A separate budget for art in public space has been allocated for the redevelopment of the tunnel itself. The design includes a proposal to transform the space with an interactive light installation.
At ground level, the commercial and bus infrastructure connects visually with the railway to create a dynamic and inviting view of the city from the trains. Glazing in the structure of the canopy brings daylight into the hall and onto the platforms. Components from the existing station will be recycled as three new platform shelters.
At a local level, the design draws together the railway, bus, pedestrian and cycle transport modes into a more consolidated and unified plan in anticipation of the Florijnas axis masterplan to bury a dual carriageway that currently runs parallel to the train line. This work is intended to maximize the pedestrian experience of the city and better merge the new station into its surroundings through extensive relandscaping as part of a new ‘Red Carpet’ route through the city. Terracing to the north of the building encourages activity and natural surveillance around the building, its various entrances and tunnels. New planting and the sedum roof canopy camouflage the new design into the city, known for its parks and green spaces.
Location: Assen, the Netherlands
Design: Powerhouse Company & De Zwarte Hond (Team A)
Clients: Municipality of Assen, NS, ProRail
Partners in charge: Nanne de Ru (Powerhouse Company) and Jeroen de Willigen (De Zwarte Hond)
Team: Ben van der Meer, Stefan Prins, Dik Houben, Freddy Siekmans, Martine Drijftholt, Kris Schaasberg, Richard Vrijland, Martijn Korendijk, Julius Kirchert, Paul Rikken, Luca Piattelli, Rui Wang, Katarzina Klepacz
Structural engineer: BreedID
Railway consultant: InVra Plus
Model: Studio Woudstra
Expected completion year: 2019
*All images and information courtesy of Powerhouse Company.