Rein Jansma, Reinald Top and Rob Torsing
Zwarts & Jansma Architects
The most common building type for a highline train tube and station exists of two pieces: the main structure that actually carries the construction and the roof that’s added…
What was the most difficult issue about working within this building type or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought in your project?
The most common building type for a highline train tube and station exists of two pieces: the main structure that actually carries the construction and the roof that’s added as a separate structure. In case of the Beatrixlaan Station the iconic transparent tube and substructure were constructed as a one integrated structure. We choose for this solution because it enabled us to make a more advanced and open structure that’s uses less material. The more common not integrated structures usually have a more massive effect and less transparent effect.
When we came up with this iconic transparent structure, the stakeholders of the project became very enthusiastic. They expected apparently a less present piece of infrastructure but in the end they saw in the powerful structure an identity carrier for the area! In contrast, the maintenance service of the municipality reacted more reserved. They thought our solution to be risky, as they only had experience in maintaining more common constructions. The stakeholders started to defense “their” iconic tube. In complex assignments like trains stations it’s mostly hard to convince politics to choose for a more innovative, iconic construction instead of an average solution. With the help of the stakeholders of the Beatrixlaan project we succeeded.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?
Infrastructure used to be an engineers job. Nowadays infrastructure is used as a city-marketing tool. Designers are given an important role in the process. The project of RandstadRail contributed in the development to put infrastructure on the map as an object for design.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new thought and solutions?
In the days of Henry Ford you were only able to design a cheap piece of technology when it was inelaborate. Every car had to be the same. Working with advanced computer systems allows us in the 21st century to develop all kind of construction variants. The prices of the variants won’t rise as the computer can calculate variants rapidly. Changes can be made easily throw principles like ‘File to Factory’ or even ‘File to Site’
Also the way the building process was designed, a public-private construction, made it possible to develop a whole area on high quality standards. The Train Station was not only seen as a station, but as the heart of a highly dense hub with offices and other functions. The stakeholders wanted the hub to be visible attractive.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?
We work with international PhD researchers to develop more advanced constructions. But we also go past conventional academic institutes. We support open-source sharing of ideas, as we believe that sharing information will help the technology to improve more rapidly.
Our firm is advanced in form finding. As data in the open-source society is interchangeable it allows us to apply state of the art technology and to develop it. We developed the same language as the producers of the technology, so we’re able to work quickly. Also we can calculate with the help of computer systems the most limited material use, we’re able to design sustainable solutions.