1200 Bus and Tram Shelters

The City of The Hague wanted specially designed shelters for all the city’s tram and bus stops. They did not want to choose from the standard selection offered by Decaux, the company that would supply and maintain the shelters. It was not just the shelters themselves, but also the signs, railings and trellis-work, poles, announcement boards, in short the entire dressing-up of the tram and bus stops had to be specially developed for The Hague. The design was based on the construction-kit principle: a limited number of standard elements that could be assembled in various configurations for the different stops.

The shelters had to be applicable for highly diverse locations throughout The Hague. That is the reason for the essentially neutral design and colour schemes. The desire to take full advantage of the potential impact of social control measures led to a design that is as transparent as possible. All the walls are made with reinforced glass from floor to ceiling – now commonplace, but at the time of the design it was still unique in its kind.
The enormous scale of the task, involving a total of 1,400 shelters and 13 kilometres of railings was exploited to devise a construction system with project-specific, modular elements. The system, consisting of triangular sections and a set of cast elements, was applicable for all the shelters, regardless of the length and width of the stopping-place.

The standard sections are triangular, based on a modular size of 1,500 millimetres, and can be used horizontally as well as vertically. The sections are assembled from press-braked components and function primarily as supports. The sections also provide the fastening points for the glass panes and the roofing elements, and offer space for the conduit of the electrical wiring for the lighting, among other things. Sections employed horizontally support the polyester roofs and also serve as gutters, while sections used vertically guide the rainwater, taking advantage of the ‘surface tension principle’, from the roof to ground level.

A set of pre-cast elements was designed to affix the shelter’s various components, such as the glass walls, advertising hoardings, seating and railings. A weldable fastener of cast steel was designed for the coupling of vertical and horizontal sections. The reinforced glass plates are clamped into the standard section with the aid of cast aluminium components. The stainless steel tubes for the railings are connected to uprights with the same standard triangular section.
The roof elements are made of polyester and are double-shelled. The outermost blue shell is made more rigid by stability ribs. The white inside shell has a smooth finish and also provides the housing for the lighting fixtures.

Winner: Dutch Steel Award 1990, Berlageprijs 1999