- Architect In Charge : Dietmar Feichtinger
- Client : NMBS-HOLDING
- Competition Team : Claire Bodénez, Michael Felder, David Gregori y Ribes, Iwona Borkowska, Dorit Böhme, Marcus Himmel, Annalena Jost, Silviu Aldea
- Planning Team : Gerhard Pfeiler, Robert Grimm
- City : Ostend
- Country : Belgium
Text description provided by the architects. It is more than a hundred years since King Leopold II had the current Ostend station built. A bourgeois building with magnificent architecture, worthy of the "queen of seaside towns". Just like the city, the station has also expanded. It has become a popular transport hub, where thousands of passengers find their way every day to take a train, tram or bus, or a ferry or cruise ship. For these many travelers, an increasingly complex infrastructure has developed over the years to provide a confusing mix of buildings and parking lots. This limitation makes it impossible to pursue development as more and more people use public transport. Therefore, the project partners are investing in the renovation of this station, with its unique location right by the sea. They are making this seaside station a leading transport hub.
As the remaining walls of the exit room were classified, it was decided to demolish the roof and other walls and to keep the only classified wall, without a roof. The new canopy partly spans this old wall. The old tram station was demolished in 2019. The bicycle parking is now underground with a series of round atriums overlooking the space between the platforms and the station building; the tram station is closer to the train station and a multi storey car park has been built along with the train platforms.
The Albert I promenade, the port atmosphere and the large cargo ships, the large Maria Hendrika park are all elements that give the City of Oostende a special atmosphere and image, spaces of great scope. The landscape impact of the new project - a tense "canvas" linking different uses - is strong and consistent within this context. By its size and unity, it enriches the whole. It is an extension whose scale corresponds to the urban scale.
The appearance of the existing building corresponds to the station's status, its institutional aspect gives it a major presence: It is a dialogue between two entities that have been established, between the imposing architecture of the existing building, facing the port and the Town Hall, and the generosity of the large roof. The station square opens towards the city. It is a large space on the harbor. It integrates bus stations, tramways, bicycle parking and becomes a true multimodal platform for users.
With the new impetus it brings to the district, to the city, by its generous extent, the new roof is in its expression refined and transparent. Its vocation is to cover, to connect and to unite, with lightness. Under the roof, all functions are naturally integrated. Stairs, elevators and the footbridge are suspended from it. Taking advantage of this shelter, the intermediate accesses remain light and airy, to provide pleasant visibility from both sides under the roof, from the hall and the platforms. The station installations are suspended, such as signage, billboards, electrical installations. They free the floor space in the hall and on the platforms. The continuity of the travelers’ journey is enriched by this visual clearance, this unique space. In conjunction with the station square to the west, the bicycle parking lot is installed under the roof. It is located on level R-1 and is largely open with a series of round atriums providing natural lighting and ventilation.
The metal structure of the roof consists of slender piles, four tubes that meet on the base (welded junction). They are embedded in the roof structure and form a beam. The base of the slender piles is articulated. The structure is blocked at the linking bridge leading from the parking to the platforms. This allows temperature expansions in the longitudinal direction; embedding moments are avoided accordingly. The structure is made up of main beams and transverse-beams with an interaxial distance of 15m, formed by double I-shaped profiles. These reconstituted profiles allow the integration of channels and electrical networks. The roof structure forms a rigid plate. By the slenderness of the piles and their flexibility, thermal expansion is absorbed. The roof forms a diaphragm, an expansion joint along the car park allows differential deformations due to temperature. Crossbeams spaced 5 m cross this structure to support the joists supporting the polycarbonate sheds.