Waiting areas individual as well as uniform

Unique toolbox brings safety, comfort and experience

Ruland Architecten brings structure and unity to the improvement of waiting areas at small stations with a newly developed toolbox. Without losing sight of the variety of architectural styles and local identity, five stations are given a fresh impulse.


Of the nearly 400 stations owned by NS, quite a few have a small station building with waiting area. The variety of designs and construction periods of these small buildings is enormous, as is the number of renovations and subsequent adaptations. Over time, many waiting areas have been furnished uniformly and vandalism-resistant with gray tiles and steel benches, which means that the original atmosphere and identity of these spaces has disappeared. NS Stations is going to improve these spaces and has asked Ruland Architecten for a plan. The integral approach was determined on the basis of a study into the improvement of 5 small and very different waiting areas.

Ruland Architecten has developed a special toolbox to do justice to both the unique individual designs and to give the approach structure and collective recognisability. For this purpose, specific interventions have been examined per waiting area that are appropriate to the situation and local identity in question. Subsequently, a search was made for unity and recognisability in the interventions to strengthen this identity. These interventions or ‘tools’ together form the generic toolbox and are subdivided into the main themes of safety, comfort and experience.

Improving transparency and accessibility are two ways to improve security. For example, several masonry walls at Breda Prinsenbeek station have been replaced by glass walls and the waiting rooms at Heemstede-Aerdenhout station have been given an extra entrance door. Opening the plinth by removing non-functioning heaters and closed parts, are also interventions that make waiting rooms lighter and more transparent to stay in.

More comfort for the traveler is achieved by improving acoustics, ventilation, seating comfort and warmth. The enclosed waiting areas of Heemstede-Aerdenhout, Putten and Etten-Leur have been fitted with motion and temperature-controlled radiant panels that heat the passenger when desired. At Helmond Brouwhuis station, an open station, the seating edge that is frequently used has a recognizable sofa seat.

The most eye-catching interventions fall into the last category in the toolbox: experience. Gray tiles, cluttered ceilings and old pipes and radiators are removed. Natural light colors and renewable or recyclable finishes give the spaces a fresh and new look. Where possible, sleek lighting has been integrated into the ceiling.

A special feature of this approach is the municipal monument at Heemstede-Aerdenhout station, where the waiting areas have been restored to their original design. The typical vitrified clay pipe ‘windows’ have been restored, as has the original floor that was still present. Thanks to the research work of Ruland Architecten, the original color palette and design of the benches were retrieved and brought back.

With the new toolbox from Ruland Architecten, NS Stations has an unambiguous and recognizable approach for the optimization of waiting areas at small stations. In addition to improving safety and comfort, the appearance and individual character of the various spaces will also be restored.

Breda Prinsenbeek
Helmond Brouwhuis
ClientNS Stations, Utrecht
ArchitectRuland Architecten, Amsterdam
Construction site managementNS Stations, Utrecht
Contractor (Heemstede-Aerdenhout, Breda Prinsenbeek)Van Wijnen, Deventer
Contractor (Etten-Leur, Helmond Brouwhuis)Temmink, Deventer
ImagesRuland Architecten, Amsterdam

© Ruland Architecten 2024