Arnhem Central Station

Stationsplein Arnhem

Encounter and interaction
Arnhem Central Station is located next to the city center. In its previous structure the area was isolated by a main road and the station was a monofunctional space of disorientation. The new design guides travelers intuitively through the area in order to make the usage of public transport as easy and stress-free as possible. Like this the design reflects the potential of the area to be more than a transition hub by inviting people to participate in a multifunctional place to stay. The station and the surrounding public space, including facilities and meeting places serve as a place of encounter for both inhabitants and passengers. In this way the station is carefully integrated into its urban context, knits into the fabric of the city. The design of the public space aims to make the routing between the station and the city center intuitive. The new central station area in Arnhem turns waiting for a train or a bus into a moment of urban encounter accommodating rest as well as exchange, increasing personal health as well as the public live of the area.

Flowing urban landscape
The station area lies on the slopes of the Veluwe massive, dipping into the lower landscape flanking the river Nederrijn. This results in a 20 meter height difference that has to be bridged in public space. Therefore the design of the public space is interpreted as a continuous flowing landscape, seamlessly connecting all the different height-levels and streams of transportation. Natural stone pavement is laid in various directions, following the undulating ground surface. In companion with the organic station building it suggests a feeling of standing within a flowing topography. Steel figures subtly mark height differences and thereby set the area in relation to the surrounding landscape.

Place to stay
Bigger height differences are bridged by stone folds in the plane. Fitted with wooden seating, the folds transform into benches that emerge from the surface like waves or sand dunes. In their settings, following the flow of the surface, the furniture lead the people through the open space. With their concave shape they invite people to use them as places of slowing down moments. On account of its flowing topography and surface the station area has been discovered as one of Europe’s skater hot spots. Thanks to the sturdy detailing of the ground plane and the durable street furniture, the arrival of these new users is easily accommodated.

The natural stone pavement follows the undulating surface in different angles. Tailor made paving stones create smooth connections. Scattered on the floor are steel numbers, marking the height difference. Linear illumination and lighting integrated into the handrails of steps enhance the legibility of the landscape. Small lampposts close to areas of greenery and seating create attractive settings. In contrast to this sensitive lighting the main transition spots are lighted bright to enhance orientation and therefore increase safety.

Foto’s: Frans Hanswijk en Ben ter Mull

  • Location: Stationsplein, Arnhem, Netherlands
  • Constructed: 2016
  • Client: City of Arnhem
  • Cost: € 5.900.000,-
  • Area: 4,5ha
  • Partners: UNStudio & Atelier LEK

The station is directly located next to the city center

Arnhem Centraal

A flowing urban landscape

bus terminal

Creating intuitive orientation on eyelevel with spaces of flow and spaces of rest

Station Arnhem

Bigger height differences are bridged by ‘folds’ in the pavement.

A connected landscape intuitively guiding the station users to the various destinations


The benches emerge from the surface like waves, or sand dunes

Arnhem Centraal

Space to conquer

Arnhem Centraal

We enjoy the fact that the new station area is one of Europe's hot spots for skaters

detail bestrating

Natural stone pavement follows the undulating surface in different angles

Arnhem Centraal

Sensitive detailing to translate the concept on to the small scale

Stationsplein Arnhem

The station square flows seamlessly in to the station building.

detail bestrating

Scattered on the floor are steel numbers, marking the height difference.

Sensitive lighting plan creates atmosphere and orientation