There is something heroic about this project. Formally heroic in that a complex and large chunk of city has been grasped and made sense of; operationally heroic in that two practices - one Dutch the other English – have come together with the city of Amsterdam to make this happen.
With the tracks above ground (and given an extra two metres height in the development of the design) the opportunity has been taken to make a real difference at ground level. To the north/west a very broad promenade has been established to the Ajax Stadium, which attracts huge crowds, and a bus station sitting effortlessly under the tracks establishing the station also as a place of interchange. The east/west 70 metre wide connection under the tracks is to be consolidated with a parade of shops opposite the ticket hall. To the east the great flat arch of the station completes the existing square performing the role of a public loggia. This square is also the face of the very large and notorious Bijlmer public housing project behind.
The architectural key to the project is the interpretation of the gaps between the tracks and the ways in which these have been transformed to make lofty and enjoyable public spaces between the ground and the platforms above, linked diagonally with escalators, vertically by glazed lift towers, horizontally by the platforms themselves. The arriving and departing trains and the leisurely procession of passengers make for a remarkable piece of drama.