Nijmegen station (1892), designed by the then Chief Government Architect C.H. Peters, was heavily damaged during World War II, and the architect S. van Ravesteyn was commissioned to design a new station. Due to lack of money and materials, it was decided to use the existing foundations and the patched up remains of the 1894 building.
The rail side façades and the canopies were especially suitable for use. The front was completely renewed. Van Ravesteyn wanted to turn the station into a modern entrance to the city, recognisable from a distance by a striking bell tower. During this period, he travelled extensively through Italy, and the resulting influences are to be discerned in the design. In the seventies a new time layer was added. The station hall was judged to be too small to house modern conveniences and accommodate the growing number of travellers, so the complete hall was replaced by a more modern one, which in its turn was replaced again in 2001.
The building has two faces: the face of the late nineteenth century platform façade designed by Peters, and the post-war front façade, inspired by Florentine architecture. Both are equally valuable, which makes Nijmegen station so special. As regards the exterior of the building it will be necessary to review the later ‘disfigurements’ to both façades and to carefully design new adjustments. Such adjustments should contribute to the historical quality of the façades and should link the two ‘faces’ in a logical way. For a next generation of designers, the challenge will be to at last properly connect the worlds of Peters en Van Ravesteyn and those of the railway and the city of Nijmegen.