Project team:
Client: Municipality of Amsterdam, ProRail and Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Architects: Benthem Crouwel Architects

20. May 2016

The Cuyperspassage in Amsterdam demonstrates how different lighting schemes can work side by side.

Text: Edited by Joachim Ritter

Photos: Jannes Linders, BenthemCrouwel

The idea is not entirely new: tiles used to line a tunnel. The result generally tends to give rise to a somewhat clinical atmosphere. But if you divide the tunnel into two halves and design each section completely differently, the tiled wall part can suddenly enhance the whole space to the extent that it becomes delightful. There is nothing as instructive as a direct comparison. Dividing a tunnel into two totally different spaces and designing them differently into the bargain gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at both versions and discover some basic rules for designing the lighting. Since we can presume that all the standards for illuminance have been met, the question remains as to why we may prefer the one or the other half of the tunnel. What effect does a dark ceiling have? How significant are shiny or reflective surfaces?


Cuyperspassage is the name of the new tunnel at Amsterdam Central Station that connects the city and the body of water known as the IJ. The Cuyperspassage is part of the overall master plan for Amsterdam Central Station, a project Benthem Crouwel Architects were commissioned to design. Since the end of 2015 it has been used by large numbers of cyclists, some 15,000 daily, and pedestrians 24 hours a day. This ‘slow traffic corridor’ was exactly what many users of the city felt was lacking. What was once perforce a left or right turn is now, at long last, just a straight ahead. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 101

Our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version

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