Zuidas and Amsterdam Zuid station

Zuidasdok Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, between the De Nieuwe Meer and Amstel intersections, lies the Zuidas area, on both sides of the A10 Zuid motorway, with Amsterdam Zuid railway station halfway along. The ambition to make this a second city centre, where people live, work, shop and play sports, is impeded by the fact that as well as the A10 Zuid and the railway, several cycle routes and bus, tram and metro lines come together here. The position in relation to Schiphol Airport and the development of the city and its mobility have led to predictions that the number of passengers using Amsterdam Zuid station will grow from 80,000 to 250,000 per day. The railway track and the motorway form an awkward barrier in the city.

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Together we are working on a complex task. The complete renovation and expansion of the existing station, sandwiched between the highway and Zuidas. The widening and tunneling of parts of the A10 South and the integration of a large number of new functions in the already busy area. With greenery as the basis of our design, Zuidasdok will not only contribute to improved traffic flow, but will also make an essential contribution to a vital and liveable city.

– Bas Symons, project-architect at ZJA

The many demands made of this complex area have necessitated a major intervention, starting with the widening of the motorway to twelve lanes over a distance of six kilometres, and the separation of local and through traffic before the A10 Zuid ring road is put into a tunnel a kilometre long to make space for the expansion of the Amsterdam Zuid station. This has brought with it the need for a lasting solution to the cycle-parking problem to match the growth in passenger traffic.


Not a railway cathedral but green squares

For the architectural and landscape design of this major project, which ZJA developed together with Team V Architectuur and BoschSlabbers Landscape architects, the history of the area in the first few decades of the twentieth century provided inspiration. It was a green verge to the city, where people walked along the dyke next to the open polder, where they fished and picnicked. It was where the first sports fields were laid out (including that of Ajax) and where the circus pitched its tents when it visited the city.

The features that the design for Zuidasdok strives for are as follows. 120,000 square metres of public space will be added to the city, free of cars and with an inviting, multi-level landscape of city squares. The city districts will be linked together, air quality in the core area will improve and as well as being a comfortable mobility hub, Amsterdam Zuid station will become an inviting place to be. Furthermore, the resulting area will be part of the green corridor between the green wedges at De Nieuwe Meer and at the bend in the River Amstel, all the way from Zorgvlied to the Beatrixpark.

This is not a suitable place for the huge volume of a traditional railway cathedral, which would separate out all these functions. For ZJA the entire area is an integrated whole, designed to make connections. The space created by putting the A10 into a tunnel presents an opportunity not just to expand the railway but to make two long green squares. The emphasis lies on the creation of active plinths of public space by adding shops and catering, and turning the new bicycle garages inwards so that they have little impact on the plinth. A six-metre-high but slim roof that lets in plenty of light provides protection against sun and rain, while also stressing the coherence and openness of the surroundings. The existing Minervapassage will be widened and clearly laid out with zones for checking in and out, and make a connection between different districts. Next to the Minervapassage will be a second passageway, the Brittenpassage, which will function entirely as part of the station area.

Around all this, as a demarcation in the direction of the track, will be a multi-level landscape with abundant planting. A station will thereby emerge that is integrated into the city and does not have a front or back but is open in all directions. Around the passageways will be an area with retail, hospitality and cultural functions.