Dutch light rail station The Hague has won the 2019 European Steel Design Merit Award.
Designed by ZIA, the station is characterised by a slender glass and steel roof that sits above the platforms. A covered walkway, in the form of an expressive steel canopy, connects the light rail station and the main station of the Hague Central Station.
The light rail station’s canopy and viaduct sculpts itself into a sharp contour as it approaches the train station, cutting through the glass entrance facade and penetrating into the main station hall. This extension inside the hall highlights the access route between the two stations, making wayfinding simple.
The roof’s flowing shape offers shelter from rain and wind while allowing in plenty of natural light. At night, a starry sky of LED lights illuminates the platforms and the covered approach to the light rail station.
Compared to Hague Central Station and its surroundings, the light rail station has a strong architectural identity. Its sculptural roof and canopy have been designed to be eye-catching while also taking human scale into account. However, the light rail station also manages to blend into its complex urban environment.
The roof’s design was developed and optimized using parametric and computational design methods. This made it possible to use rectangular, single curved, cold-bent layered glass. It also allowed a significant reduction in the quantity of materials used in the steel structure.
According to the architects, the form is not arbitrary – it was generated and controlled based on the structural lines of force. This allowed a very slim, lightweight roof structure that yielded savings on materials and production (energy) compared to a traditional roof design.