The Diversity of the Similar

by Maarten Lever on May 23, 2014

GROUP A recently completed the revised preliminary design for the renovation of the Metro Oostlijn stations in Amsterdam. We’re proud and happy that, after a 2 year break, the project is now  moving on towards its next station: the contractor selection. Planned completion of the 16 stations in total will be end 2017.


In the past few years we came to appreciate the project’s complexity. No single station is the same, not even the seemingly “simple” station above ground. This meant that lots of drawings had to be made, measurements had to be checked on site and we had to come up with custom design solutions for specific situations that didn’t fit the generic plan.

“The past half year we discovered more and more diversity within the similar stations. We found more hidden beauty and got deeper and deeper in the history and the current complexity of the sixteen station under our hands”.

groupa_metro-oostlijn_VO+ Together with the work of our advisors the result is rather voluminous!


An important aspect of the revised preliminary design is the integration of the fire safety systems on the underground stations. We designed a half-open ceiling to cover the technical installations. Looking straight up one can still see the installations, which is a demand. But the overall atmosphere is one of calmness. By means of additional lighting areas that really matter are accentuated, like the original art and the characteristic concrete mushroom columns. The ceiling is kept a dark grey color to match with the existing ceilings and it is punctuated by a grid of small lights.


The new Mijksenaar wayfinding plan that will span the whole metro network has been incorporated into the design. It is currently examined whether the clustered information and ticket vending walls, that were already part of the original competition entry, might even be applied on the new North-South line.


Thanks to the efforts of many, the ambition that started the project still drives it today. The Oostlijn’s robust roots in the 70s are strong and worth retaining. Meanwhile, by adding new materials and an elaborate lighting scheme the atmosphere is fundamentally changed. We believe that after the renovation the Oostlijn will be a line of its own kind. A line that tourists will remember for its architecture and a line that commuters will enjoy riding day in day out.

In March and April this year the project is shown and explained to the public with presentations, animations and explaining video productions. Two of those you can see below.

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