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Arnhem Central, Arnhem, Netherlands

Issue 71 Feb / Mar 2013 : Architectural : Transport

CLIENT: ProRail, Utrecht LIGHTING DESIGN: UNStudio PHOTOGRAPHY: Ronald Tilleman

UNStudio commissioned a custom-made lighting system to fit their design for the new-look Arnhem Central station.

Arnhem Central station plays a substantial role in connecting several of the Netherlands’ regional routes with high-speed international services to neighbouring Germany. In 1996, in anticipation of continuing increases in passenger traffic, the government-backed ProRail group instigated a major refurbishment project designed to increase capacity and ease the flow of movement through the station. As well as the construction of a fourth platform, capacity and accessibility were improved by the addition of a new passenger tunnel and overhead footbridge. In 2006, UNStudio, a Dutch architectural design practice specialising in urban development and infrastructural projects, was tasked with creating a design for the scheme. Under their plans, a new roof system was added to the whole station; a modern prefabricated structure, gracefully integrated with the footbridge and providing supports for the electric cables above the tracks. The main source of illumination comes from two continuous lines of light that run the length of each platform. UNStudio wanted this feature to be seamlessly integrated into the canopy, but finding a suitable luminaire for the job proved challenging. The regulations set out for all rail infrastructure projects stipulate that any fixture used has to meet a minimum standard of protection against weather and vandalism. Specifically, units must be IP54 rated and sturdy enough to withstand 20 joules of impact energy, equivalent to a 5kg weight dropped from 40cm (detailed as an IK10 rating). Unfortunately, the team’s research suggested that most of the fixtures meeting this criteria share an unapologetically robust aesthetic. In search of a solution they looked into creating a bespoke product, one that could be manufactured for the same budget as a standard off-the-shelf solution. After unsuccessful discussions with three different companies, they made contact with Van Doorn Lighting.

Van Doorn worked within the budget and design restraints to produce Abri, a fixture that would provide the desired uninterrupted, frameless, narrow line of light. The unit consists of a frameless thick acrylic cover that is milled down at the edges so that it can be fixed to the folded steel housing. Attachment is quick and simple, using just a few parts and providing the necessary ingress protection.

The platform roofs were prefabricated off-site in lengths of approximately 25m, so installation of lighting fittings was carried out as part of this process. Fixtures were designed to follow the rhythm of the ceiling panels; the length of each is 1,536mm, one-and-a-half times that of the panels. The gradual curve of the platform structures necessitated the fabrication of special fixtures that would bridge the points where some of the prefab roof sections meet. Approximately 170 special pieces with lengths of between 310 -1700mm, were created for this job. Together with the 750 standard units, the Abri luminaires provide 1.3km of light.

ERCO Lightcast downlights, coated to match the colour of the ceiling panels, provide additional illumination over the stairways to the footbridge and tunnel. 20W, 1650 lumen and directional 70W, 6600 lumen versions were used respectively.

The resulting space feels brighter, cleaner and less cluttered, helping to ensure commuter satisfaction remains high as the station’s capacity continues to grow.

Arnhem Central, Arnhem, Netherlands
Client: ProRail, Utrecht
Engineering: Movares
Contractor: BAM-Dura Vermeer
Contractor installations: SPIE
Architect: UNStudio (Ben van Berkel with Arjan Dingsté and Marc Hoppermann, Marc Herschel, Derrick Diporedjo, Kristin Sandner, Rein Werkhoven)

ERCO Lightcast 1 x HIT-TC-CE 20W downlight
ERCO Lightcast Directional 1 x HIT-CE 70W downlight
920 x vanDoorn ABRI recessed strip light


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