Zwarts & Jansma new light urban rail link between The Hague and Rotterdam
Randstadrail is a new light urban rail network between The Hague and Rotterdam, with a partially existing network being supplemented with new sections. In the centre of The Hague, the need for a new section resulted in a viaduct being built over the entire 400m metres length of the Beatrixlaan, with a new station halfway.
The design process was started by listening carefully to all the stakeholders. Also multidisciplinary workshops generated usable information as input for the design. A principle that turned out very important for all stakeholders was that the new structure wouldn’t compromise the social - and traffic safety.
The space-frame tubular construction of the viaduct is constructed from a skeleton structure of rings of mild-steel strips with a diameter of about 10 metres, interconnected by diagonally set tubes to form an open tube structure covering large spans with relatively few columns at street level. By choosing a transparent skeleton both the street level as well as the surrounding offices are able to catch the maximum amount of sunlight and with hardly any visual obstruction at eye level, social - safety and traffic safety are not compromised..
Advancement was made, not so much by designing the structure as a piece of architecture, but by organising a smart process so the ‘place of flows’, a building typology with a totally different rhythm as its surrounding, became an integral part of the main structure of the district. Moreover, since the opening of the station it has become a well-known landmark in The Hague as a striking construction that gives the area a clear identity and provides the displaced and bare Beatrixkwartier with the much desired urbanity.
With the ‘fishnet stocking’ defining the elongated space, this makes it a superb example of how architecture can give meaning to a useless space