Amsterdam Central Station: Gate-free passageways

Create safe, comfortable and sustainable gate-free passageways in Amsterdam’s Central Station. Passageways which not only link the city centre and the IJ waterfront, but which are also attractive for visitors and retailers. This was the request from NS Stations. With MEP systems advice taking account of both the historic aspects of the building and the wishes of today’s station visitors, Deerns helps to realise this wish.

An attractive passageway for visitors and users

Amsterdam Central Station is undergoing a major renovation and expansion programme between 2010 and 2017, to offer its expected 175,000 daily visitors (in 2020) a pleasant stay. In the view of railway operator NS, the station is a place which offers more than just catching a train. An attractive shopping and hospitality-outlet range in stations is part of this. To be able to handle the growing number of travellers well in Amsterdam Central, two underground passageways are being developed: the West passage and the East passage. The passageways are solely connections between the station’s city centre side and IJ side, not offering access to any of the platforms. Both passageways will offer a variety of shops and hospitality outlets.

Deerns was asked to develop a flexible and durable (MEP) concept which would offer passageway visitors and retailers a safe, sustainable and comfortable environment. The major challenge was to design it in such a way that the building’s historic character would not be affected. Because the passageways offer no direct access to the platforms, safety was accorded extra attention in the design. Another requirement was that the building operations could not have any influence on the daily train traffic.

Low energy consumption a priority

In the overall design Deerns ensured that the infrastructure of ventilation, cooling (cooling water), electricity and sprinkler/fire alarm system in the passageways can always be scaled up and adapted easily to any changing activities. The systems are also designed in such a way that should there be any further renovations, the activities will remain restricted to the area itself, so that the other retailers will not suffer any disruption from the building work.

To achieve a pleasant temperature in the passageways, Deerns advised that energy-efficient air-curtains be installed at the entrances and exits. These keep heat in and cold out. To aid energy economy, heat from the processed air is added to the air sucked in from outside, so that less heating is needed. Lighting is vitally important in underground passageways. LED lights will be used when equipping the tunnels.

A sustainable, pleasant place for visitors and retailers

Heating and lighting the passageways are just one part of the MEP concept Deerns designed for the passageways. The passageways are part of the station, and certainly for the safety aspects of the system it is important that they form an integral part of, and are connected to, the existing systems. Besides the design, Deerns also took care of the tendering and contracting procedure, and is responsible for management during construction, supervision of the works, the testing of systems, and the follow-up. Both passageways are due for delivery in 2015.