Restoration of Maastricht station and its hidden treasures

Extraordinary architecture from the past meets the traveler of the present

With the redevelopment and restoration of Maastricht station, the grandeur of the listed building from 1915 has been restored. It was and is a very beautiful and well preserved and maintained building. The redevelopment was therefore about repair, restoration and making the hidden treasures visible again. The aim was to carry out the necessary interventions in line with the existing architecture.

The experience of the traveler is central to the design by Ruland Architecten. Monumental spaces and colorful details have been restored to their former glory and made visible and accessible again. By means of a contemporary interpretation of the ‘architectural building blocks’ of architect Van Heukelom, Ruland Architecten makes new architectural interventions an integral part of the special architecture.

The iconic Maastricht station building was built to a design by the then railway architect G.W. from Heukelom. It is a grand and urban building in a sober neo-Renaissance style with strong Berlagian influences. Spacious rooms, high windows with stained glass windows and many colorful details and tile pictures are characteristic of the architecture. For the train traveler, the station is the gateway to Maastricht and an important landmark in the city.

Over the years, much has been changed and adapted in the use of the station building. Original railway functions have disappeared, special monumental spaces are no longer accessible to the public, are heavily cluttered and/or neglected. Due to architectural interventions, the original passenger route through the station hall and the passage to the platforms has been changed and fragmented, with consequences for the operation and liveliness of the station building

The ambition of the municipality and province to strengthen Maastricht station as an international hub and to tackle the barrier effect of the railway zone was the reason for NS Stations to redevelop and restore the station building. In the master plan from 2018, designed by Ruland Architecten, an integral design vision is presented to restore the monumental grandeur and spatial quality of the station building and to strengthen its position as a link in the city.

In recent years, Ruland Architecten has been able to elaborate this large-scale restoration with various partial designs. From retail units on the ground floor to the new offices on the attic floors of the station building. The final part of this elaboration has been completed for the time being with the completion of the station hall and public spaces.

In the original design, Van Heukelom made use of various architectural themes, so-called building blocks, such as routing, daylight and lighting, and a rich materialization and detailing. These building blocks have been reused for the necessary architectural interventions to ensure a coherent architectural design in terms of structure, materialization, detailing and use.

In the design, the routing through the building is restored, vacant spaces are re-filled and new functions and users are added to the program. The passage and station hall have been cleaned up by placing the luggage lockers and ATMs in surrounding niches. Rooms that have been divided and lowered with suspended ceilings have been returned to their original dimensions and impressive character. The special and monumental spaces have been made suitable for housing new retail functions such as a bookshop, supermarket and department store. These spaces have also been made accessible to the traveler again.

Behind the classic arched entrances – one of which has been added in the style of Van Heukelom – modern transparent fronts have been placed. This brings back the original articulation of the natural stone and masonry walls and creates lively and inviting views to the shops. An intervention that has restored the passage to its former spaciousness and functionality.

In the passage and former waiting areas, the original daylight windows in the ceilings turned out to be largely still present. The other original light wells and skylights had unfortunately disappeared. Thanks to the smart application of LED lighting, these shelves have been restored to function.

An entirely new lighting plan has also been designed, tailored to the basic principles of the original design. The outdated lighting in the passage and station hall has been replaced by new fixtures that better match the architecture. The unique design of the chandeliers is inspired by the fixtures that hung in the station hall in the 1970s.

On the outside, the finesse of Van Heukelom has been restored by repairing and cleaning the facade. Colorful tile pictures and natural stone ornaments have been restored and bring the richness back to the appearance of the iconic building.

In the interior, monumental panelling, ceilings and other wall finishes have been painted in the historic color palette, based on SRAL’s color research. New floor and wall tiles have been recreated to match the richly detailed walls and floors.

The wealth in the station building is also apparent from the large number of hidden treasures: original and valuable elements that were hidden behind suspended ceilings and under layers of paint or even stored in places far outside the project. For example, a beautiful wall painting by the artist Harry Schoonbrood was found and restored in the current supermarket space, which was commissioned in 1961 by Mosa and the Kristalunie. The natural stone fountain that once stood in the station hall is also special. It disappeared during a renovation in the 1980s. After much research and help from the municipality of Maastricht, it was found in almost original condition and has since been placed back in its place next to the main entrance of the station hall.

A special metamorphosis has taken place in the former visitation room. This space became available for redevelopment due to the relocation of the NS Passengers department to the new offices in the attic floors. The intermediate floors and inner walls that were added once have been removed, so that the hall has regained its original shape. The special staircase with circulation has been released into space again. A new connection with the square and the city has been made with a large patio door. A new catering establishment will be possible here in due course with a new sun-drenched terrace on the station square.

With the new design by Ruland Architecten, Maastricht station has rediscovered its imposing character and grandeur, matching its important local and international position. The original routing through the building has been restored and monumental spaces are once again accessible to the traveler. Van Heukelom’s inventiveness has been reduced by making existing and new passageways transparent. The new openings to the square strengthen the connection with the city and bring the building to life. The new station is now again the gateway to Maastricht as it was once intended.

LocationMaastricht, Nederland
Floor area3500 m2 bvo
YearAugustus 2007 – november 2021
StatusUitgevoerd
ClientNS Stations, Utrecht
ArchitectRuland Architecten, Amsterdam
ConstructorAdviesbureau Brekelmans, Maastricht
Installations adviserKompas adviseurs & ingenieurs, Maastricht
Building physics adviserWRI, Maastricht
Construction cost adviserBouwkostenbureau Heijneman, Nootdorp
Construction site managementMJB groep B.V. Maastricht
Contractor
Laudy Bouw, Sittard
Lardenoije, Eijsden
Building installationsHomij, Vianen
TES installatietechniek, Tilburg
Color researchStichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg, Maastricht
Historical window frames adviserAtelier Flos, Steyl
Lighting adviserRobert Jan Vos Lichtontwerp en -advies
PhotographyRuland Architecten, Amsterdam
ImagesRuland Architecten, Amsterdam