The project for the covering of the railway station in Leuven (Belgium) is part of a global project for the renovation of the existing station and its surroundings.
As prologue, a master plan was elaborated to reduce the surface intake of the railway infrastructure, leading, after the completion of the new railway scheme, into the urbanisation of the land formerly occupied by the tracks.
The global project was developed within the guidelines of the Spatial Structure Plan of Flanders (Northern part of Belgium), a regional plan which defines the Leuven station as a first category station in the Flemish railway network.
The importance of the existing station building within the redevelopment of the neighbourhood was recognised by the commissioner of the new station project, the Nationale Maatschappij der Belgische Spoorwegen (National Belgian Railways Company), since the early stages of the project. Most valued are its following meanings : its great emotional significance for the inhabitants and for the travellers, and its function as a link between the traffic streams as well as between the form and functions of the buildings that will be erected nearby in the future.
In this context, a limited international competition for the design of a new canopy over the platforms was conducted in two stages. From the 18 design teams originally submitting, 6 were selected (alphabetical order) : De Smet Vermeulen architecten, Luscher Architectes, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, Richard Rogers, Samyn and Partners, and Santiago Calatrava.
The design by Samyn and Partners was chosen on April 4th 2000.