Heading toward sunset – Dutch subway stations designed with colored concrete

The stations of a Dutch subway line have been provided with portals made of fair-faced concrete. For one thing, they are colored and, for another thing, they feature a special relief. To realize these features, the persons responsible decided to use the textured formliners of NOE-Schaltechnik.

The Dutch Hoek van Holland is an urban district of Rotterdam. However, visitors rather get the impression of a small costal town or beach resort. The city of Schiedam is about 30 km away. A subway line running between the two towns has been extensively refurbished recently. In this connection, those responsible had the stations of this line undergone a big metamorphosis and built new possibilities for entering and exiting.

As a result of these measures, the line starts at a beach and ends at another one now. The Dutch architect Marc Verheijen decided to design the stations correspondingly so that the passengers are always aware of the proximity of the beach: All stations are now provided with portals made of fair-faced concrete, with a surface featuring the relief of a stylized school of fish. In addition, the concrete was colored in such a way that different color gradations from yellow to orange appear from Schiedam to Hoek van Holland. In this way, the passenger shall get the impression of traveling toward the afterglow.


From the sketch to the model

The theme of a school of fish was penned by the Rotterdam-based designer Erik Sandifort. He compares the fish with the passengers who are on their way to a common destination. To give the texture a certain kind of dynamics, he deliberately abstracted the contours of the animals. In search of a possibility to eternalize this theme in concrete, the persons responsible came across NOE-Schaltechnik. The company is based in Southern Germany and operates several subsidiaries all over the worlds, including the Netherlands. They offer the textured formliners under the name NOEplast, providing a product range with a wide variety of different standard designs. The designs reproduce the surface structure of natural stone, masonry, or timber, for example, and allow eternalizing ornaments and other patterns in concrete.

In addition, NOE also enables the customer to create own ideas. The persons responsible took this opportunity for the construction of the concrete portals in the Netherlands. For this purpose, at first they scaled the sketch of the Rotterdam-based designer to a size of 4.00 x 7.00 m. Afterwards, they determined the different depths of the relief on the picture. The shadow effect that is created accordingly only allows such a plastic illustration. Afterwards, they produced a full-size model with the aid of a CNC milling machine. The model is used for the production of a casting mold made of polyurethane, which in turn is used for casting the actual formliner.


Easy application

Then, they only have to be fixed securely in the formwork and treated with a release agent, where necessary. It is then immediately possible to start the concrete pouring process. Regarding the use of the textured formliner at the construction site, experience has shown that it is reasonable to glue the formliner onto the formwork. Whereas, in the precast concrete plant it is usually sufficient to place it into the formwork. Moreover, NOE offers a very special service: They are the only manufacture who supplies textured formliners already glued in the factory onto formwork or supporting boards which then can be screwed to the actual formwork panels. This is particularly advantageous when working on in-situ concrete construction sites.

Another benefit of the NOE textured formliners is the fact that they can be re-used up to 100 times depending on their design and the influences they are exposed to. This means that the more often the formliner is used, the more the price per square meter built is reduced. The persons responsible took this opportunity and used the same formliners for the construction of all portals along the subway stations. For this purpose, they manufactured four textured formliners which, placed side by side, show the school of fish. The formliners are designed so that they can be connected infinitely without any discontinuity in the theme. Thus, the construction companies were in the position to build the subway portal with a height of seven to 14 meters without any problems.


Result and outlook

Building contractor, architect, and the graphic designer are very satisfied with the final result. Because the theme and the depth effect of the textured surface in combination with the color shades integrate together harmoniously in case of the portals made of fair-faced concrete. In the foreseeable future, another subway station will be built (Hoek Van Holland Haven). Even if some constructional details still have to be clarified, one thing is already clear now: the entrance portal will, of course, get a fish pattern.



Georg Meyer-Keller GmbH & Co. KG

Kuntzestraße 72

73079 Süssen/Germany

+49 7162 13-1



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