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Hunter Douglas
Spoorzone Delft | Custom Ceiling | Benthem Crouwel Architects
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Hunter Douglas produces tailored acoustic ceiling for Delft underground station. Hunter Douglas’s expertise for complex projects saw it designing a logistically challenging – and eye-catching – ceiling in the new railway station in Delft, the Netherlands.
 

Amsterdam’s Benthem Crouwel Architects wanted the terminal to be uncluttered and well-lit – a place where travellers would feel comfortable – and the design of the ceiling, particularly the baffles, played an integral role in this vision.

The traveller may admire the design, featuring as it does an abstract, historic city map as a decorative measure, but it’s the engineering and architectural feats that make it stand out. Combining hand-crafted and polished tapered baffles of extruded aluminium with a fixed, perforated baffle above the ceiling has led to optimal sound absorption and a reverberation time of less than one second.
 

But that was just one small part of a complex puzzle, according to architect Daniël Jongtien.

“Together with Hunter Douglas, we designed the baffles in such a way that they bow, as it were, to the rush of passers-by, with the vertical baffles gradually turning horizontal. It provides a natural way of leading travellers towards the stairs,” he said.

Throughout the production of the ceiling, they had to balance aesthetics with feasibility, explained Stefano Letterini, Hunter Douglas engineer.
 

The baffles are 600mm long and tapered, with a width of 80mm at the top and 60mm at the bottom. The only way to achieve this shape was to extrude the aluminium.

“However, applying extrusion meant we couldn’t perforate the baffles for sound absorption purposes,” he said. “That’s why we’ve hung separate, perforated baffles in between the vertical ones. In combination with so-called acoustic Heraklith boards, this results in a reverberation time of less than one second.”
 

The architect used plenty of light in his design for the underground station and this meant installing artificial lighting between the baffles. At 110 gloss units, the baffles have an exceptional gloss level, which is perfect for light reflection, and compare favourably with a standard ceiling, which has 60 gloss units.

Daylight also pours through a glass mezzanine in the station’s central hall and onto the underground platforms. All of the ceiling components have special weather-resistant coatings that enable daylight to be diffused throughout the entire space.

The first layer of 60μ is a special coating that is comparable to a chrome finish, while a second, transparent coating, also 60μ, softens the effect.
 

The project also brought logistical challenges. The north side of the platform curves round over 342 metres and the ceiling follows this arc, which meant Hunter Douglas had to divide this section into smaller parts, fitting the various components into place piece by piece.

This required just-in-time delivery and tight planning so that each customised component was installed at the right spot.

“Thanks to Hunter Douglas’s clear building plans, we knew exactly where to put each piece,” says Joeri Elfring, installations manager at MB Afbouwmontage of Zaltbommel. “With the panels all numbered according to the building plan, the job of installing them went smoothly.”
 

Hunter Douglas’s expertise and experience meant that the architect was able to keep to his original vision.

“The result is exactly what we had in mind,” says Jongtien. “It looks clean and sharp and the gloss is just right. Material sizing and quality are crucial in this kind of project. Hunter Douglas did a masterful job. The new ceiling completely supports our original idea.”
 
 
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