Delft city hall and train station: An unforgettable arrival with HISTAR® & IFB

Arriving in Delft is now an unforgettable experience thanks to an innovative design from Mecanoo Architecten. The new train station, in combination with the new city hall building, sits atop a new train tunnel built in place of the old concrete viaduct that had divided the city in two since 1965. Stepping off the train, escalators carry you up to the main hall with its impressive ceiling displaying a historic map of Delft. Gazing outside, you see the city and the old station as a contemporary version of Johannes Vermeer’s painting 'View of Delft’. HD sections in HISTAR® 355 high strength steel and Integrated Floor Beams for this project were supplied by ArcelorMittal Europe – Long Products.

Detailed information

The design: Interweaving past and future

From the outset, Mecanoo’s idea was to design a new station that makes it clear to travellers that they have arrived in Delft – not only for visitors to the city, but also for the local population that commute via train each day to work in Rotterdam or Amsterdam.

"The character of Delft and the combination of past and future was the starting point in the development of the design. This town of historic buildings and canals, once known as the ‘Prinsenstad’ and deeply connected to the Dutch Royal Family, is now at the forefront of technical development. The Technical University of Delft, which has one of Europe's top architecture schools, is a world-leader in engineering innovation," note the architects.

The station hall and Delft blue

A vaulted ceiling connecting the station with the city hall – with the possibility to walk directly between the two spaces - features an enormous historic 1877 map of Delft and its surroundings. Printed on 1929 lamellae, this 110 m x 70 m map imprints different perceptions on the viewer as they move throughout the building.

Within the station hall, walls and columns are adorned with a contemporary re-interpretation of Delft blue tiles, inspired by the Delftware pottery that the city is famous for. The broken tiles were installed onto the walls and columns by hand to form a mosaic-like design of exquisite craftsmanship.

The old station will likely be transformed into a café with a plaza surrounding it that will add to this new, dynamic slice of the city.

A building designed to reflect the Dutch skies

The glass skin of the building is designed to reflect the Dutch skies. The panels of fused glass with lens-like spheres reference a vernacular window design that can be seen throughout the historic city. The combination and rhythm of open panels of high-performance glass and closed fused glass panels enable a high degree of energy efficiency.

By creating transparency on the ground floor, interior and exterior intertwine, connecting the station with the city’s daily life.

The city hall and municipal offices

The halls are separated with a glass wall and two further volumes that house the public counters, consultation rooms and technical services of the municipal offices, and the commercial functions of the station hall.

Open-plan work spaces located alongside the building perimeter allow for optimal outward visibility and the influx of daylight.

Large trusses intersect the office floor of the municipal offices providing the large spans of the station hall below.

Contextually compact

Throughout the design process, the building volume has been shaved and reformed to create a compact, highly efficient building form. The lowered roof lines at the corners provide a gradual transition towards the existing small-scale development of the Delft city centre and the adjacent Wester Quarter. The building connects the historic inner city on the east side of the railway tunnel with the residential neighbourhoods located to the west, realigning the centre of Delft. Incisions in the glass volume of the city hall building form a pattern of alleyways and courtyards, which are themselves inspired by the intricate structure of Delft.

Steel sections and floor beams from ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal Europe – Long Products supplied more than 1000 tonnes of structural sections, among them 400 t of HD sections in HISTAR® 355 high strength steel and 285 t of Integrated Floor Beams (IFB).

The HD sections in HISTAR® 355, sold by ArcelorMittal Distribution, were used as components for the large trusses that support the large span of the station hall. HISTAR® is an innovative structural steel grade with a low alloy content in a yield strength of 355 MPa. It combines high strength with excellent toughness at low temperatures and outstanding weldability - material properties considered incompatible until now.

IFB, supplied via ArcelorMittal’s finishing centre Eurostructures, optimises usable spaces with asymmetric beams incorporated into the floor providing significant height gains and allowing one or more additional floors to be built. This system also allows air ducts and services to be easily routed while complying with fire regulations.

A sustainable building thanks to its facade

The building’s skin is made up of panels of fused glass - resembling melted glass from the 17th century and designed to reflect the Dutch skies - blended with high-performance glass for energy efficiency.

The facade responds to the different sun orientations, which determined the amount of glass incorporated, thus mitigating daylight needs while reducing heat gain in the summer months. The glass has a high light absorption factor but low solar absorption, and all windows can be opened manually for user comfort and natural ventilation. Solar panels on the roof provide 20% of the energy for the building mechanics and presence aware lighting. The GreenCalc+ score is rated at 270.


City hall:
•    19 430 m² around internal patios
•    includes a bicycle shed, an archive, a loading and unloading area, and a public lobby of 2230m²

Train station:
•    28 320m²
•    the public lobby is visually and physically linked to the station hall of 2450m²
•    retail and food facilities of 850m2
•    underground station platforms were designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects

Project information

  • Delft
  • Netherlands
  • Architect:
    Mecanoo Architecten
  • 2015/2017
  • Engineering offices:
    ABT (structural engineering), Deerns Raadgevende Ingenieurs (mechanical engineering)
  • Steel fabricator:
  • General contractor:
    BAM Utiliteitsbouw
  • Client:
    Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Spoorzone Delft
  • Photos & technical details:
    Mecanoo Architecten
  • Text:
    Mecanoo Architecten, Constructalia