On Saturday 28th February 2015--, the Delft’s new railway station was officially opened to the public. The station, in combination with municipal offices and the new city hall, sits atop a new train tunnel built in place of the old concrete viaduct that has divided the city in two since 1965. From the outset, Mecanoo’s idea has been to design a station that makes it clear to visitors that they have arrived in Delft.
Francine Houben, Mecanoo’s creative director:
“Coming up the escalators, the impressive ceiling with the historic map of Delft unfolds. When you look outside, you see the city and the old station as a modern ‘View of Delft’ by the painter Johannes Vermeer. Arriving in Delft is now an unforgettable experience!”
The city of Delft reflects its past: the multitude of historic buildings and canals; the ‘Prinsenstad’ city, closely connected to the Dutch Royal Family; and, of course, the world famous Delftware ceramic factories. On the other hand, the Delft University of Technology is at the forefront of technical innovation. The character of Delft, epitomised in this combination of past and future, was the starting point for the design led by Francesco Veenstra of Mecanoo.
A vaulted ceiling features an enormous historic 1877 map of Delft and its surroundings, connecting the station with the city hall that is currently under construction. Within the station hall, walls and columns are adorned with a contemporary re-interpretation of Delft Blue tiles. In 2017, you will be able to walk directly from the station into the city hall.
The glass skin of the building is designed to reflect the Dutch skies. The panels of fused glass with lens-like spheres reference a vernacular window design that can be seen throughout the historic city. The combination and rhythm of open panels of high performance glass and closed fused glass panels enable a high degree of energy efficiency.
Throughout the design process the building volume has been shaved and reformed to create a compact, highly efficient building form. The lowered roof lines at the corners provide a gradual transition towards the existing small-scale development of the Delft city centre and the adjacent Wester Quarter. Incisions in the glass volume form a pattern of alleyways and courtyards, which are themselves inspired by the intricate structure of Delft itself.
The station hall is a part of the first phase of the development of the station and municipal office. When the old railway viaduct will be demolished in 2017, and the city hall and entire municipal offices completed, the whole complex will be open to the public.
Mecanoo, founded in Delft in 1984, focusses on process, consultation, context, urban scale and integrated sustainable design strategies to create culturally significant buildings with a human touch. Francine Houben sees the office as a symphony orchestra, bringing together urbanism, landscape, architecture, restoration and interior design in a coherent way, with a unique sensitivity for light and beauty. The office has won numerous international awards. The Architects’ Journal named Francine Houben as the 2014 Woman Architect of the Year.