design & invent

three facade designs for Prorail’s rail-related buildings

ProRail intends to make its rail-related buildings (RGG’s) modular and circular and is looking for new standard designs for facade cladding. The buildings are composed of sustainably produced, biobased modules that can be flexibly connected, depending on the space needed. In addition, the facade cladding must also be interchangeable. In 2023, the bureau SLA has made three sketch designs within the theme of Dutch landscapes, so that the RGGs can be visually integrated into the environment. The buildings are remarkable in the use of materials and design, but not obtrusive. We have searched for a method in which the facades are both generic in application and specific in context, resulting in 3 concepts.

“The material makes the difference, circular and modular as a starting point for a new architectural language.”

1 | PANORAMA refers to the vista, the recognizable Dutch landscape. Images of the landscape as vector patterns are cut into wooden planks, creating a three-dimensional image. When the train passenger passes the weatherboarded wooden facade, the image appears to move. By using thermally modified European wood from @platowood the material is 100% biodegradable, has a low environmental impact, stores CO2 and has a long lifespan.

2 | SWITCHES refer to the network of railways and junctions through the landscape. The design consists of strips of five different colored facade tiles that abstractly depict moving track switches. The circular ceramic tiles made of fired clay type A-Brick from @Aberson with a glaze layer of recycled glass waste from @DijkstraKleiwarenfabriek, are easy to dismantle and reuse. The maintenance-free tile strips hang in cassettes, making installation quick, easy and independent of the weather.
3 | FRAGMENT is a specific, framed piece of landscape, seen from the train window; forest, meadow, water or city. The cladding for this design consists of @prettyplastic slates from 100% recycled plastic, making each tile unique. The circular slates are easy to assemble and disassemble. With one basic tile, the newly developed ‘basic third’, and two different inlay molds, a composition of seven different tiles can be made. By using various colors, patterns can be created that match the landscape features.


facts & figures

sketch design: bureau SLA