Pioneering research on building over railway tracks: Station Sloterdijk

The growing pressure on space in the city makes multiple land use more important than ever. Together with Rebel and Arcadis, we investigated the possibilities of building above the railway tracks at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station. The study examines the feasibility of an attractive mix of functions: a unique future image for a city design in which good accessibility, lots of greenery and sustainability are at the forefront. The innovative preliminary study will now be given a follow-up.

In metropolises such as New York, London and Paris, building above the railways has long been seen as a solution to space scarcity. Since the NS decided to open up the conversation about airspace above the tracks in 2018, this has also become an option in the Netherlands. For Amsterdam Sloterdijk station - in the future also the station for the new Haven-Stad district - the possibilities of an over-building were investigated on behalf of the project team Station Development Amsterdam Sloterdijk. PosadMaxwan, Rebel and Arcadis joined forces for this innovative project and delivered a long-term strategy.

From single to multiple use of space

From the beginning of the 21st century, experience has been gained with dual use of space near highways, but large-scale use of space above the railroad is relatively new for the Netherlands, especially when it comes to realizing a complete neighborhood with a combination of living, working, facilities and outdoor space.

Rients Dijkstra, partner at PosadMaxwan: "In urban planning, every project is different, but we are often working on similar issues in different locations. Previous experience is very useful, but the assignment for Sloterdijk is different. You have to create building land that doesn't exist yet, and realize an attractive, green piece of city from scratch in a completely man-made environment. Building above existing railway tracks, on this scale, is unique for the Netherlands."

In the preliminary study for Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, the boundaries of the possible were explored for the development of a new district above the railroad tracks. A district with an ideal mix of living, working and mobility, combined with a high quality of public space: lots of greenery, climate adaptation and attention to urban ecology. In addition, the opportunities for a function with regional appeal were examined, since the location is easily accessible not only from Amsterdam, but from a much wider area.

Follow-up research

The study was commissioned by, and in close cooperation with, the Stationsontwikkeling Amsterdam Sloterdijk project team, consisting of representatives of the City of Amsterdam, NS Stations, ProRail and the Transport Region of Amsterdam. Based on enthusiasm about the promising results of the preliminary study, a letter of intent has been signed for a follow-up study, extending the collaboration to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water. This announcement of the follow-up study brings building over the railway in the Netherlands a step closer.