Pastel-pink bus shelters by Maxwan
boast "world's thinnest steel roofs"


These three Rotterdam bus shelters were designed by Dutch studio Maxwan with concave and convex "razor-thin" rooftops reminiscent of billowing fabric (+ slideshow).

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

According to Maxwan, the three 5-by-10-metre canopies, which measure just 9.5 millimetres in thickness, are the "world's thinnest steel roofs".

The pastel-pink Bus Station Canopies are located on a patch of tarmac outside a new bus terminus in Rotterdam Central District, providing seated shelters for 40 waiting passengers.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

The canopies are raised up on four flat-steel columns. One arches upwards in the centre, while another bows downward – both are intended to look like fabric moving in the wind.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

"The caving helps makes the canopies structurally sound, allows for a thinner roof, and is beautiful," said the studio, which nicknamed the shelters Pillow and Hammock after these forms.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

Produced by Dutch firm Studio Metalix, the curving surfaces are finished with glossy pastel-pink paintwork.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

"The tables, treated with a skin-tone finish, are warped silk-gloss surfaces that conjure up images of suspended cloth and wind-blown sails, despite their weighing five tonnes each," said Maxwan.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

According to studio founder Rients Dijkstra, the pink paintwork was "a purely emotional choice".

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

"I have a lifelong obsession with colours," he told Dezeen. "When working on a design I see the colours that need to be used."

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

Pillow and Hammock are part of a major overhaul of the Dutch railway system, including upgrading stations in Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

An original brief from the City of Rotterdam outlined the need for 16 standard-issue bus shelters to serve a newly opened bus station. Maxwan instead created just two that fitted the same brief – to shelter 40 people sitting and more standing – for the same budget.

m237 Canopy in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Maxwan

"The efforts at creating quality environments related to public transport should not be limited to the station building itself," said the studio. "We pleaded with the city to allow us a chance to design custom-built 'canopies', if we could do it for the same budget."

Photography is by Filip Dujardin.

Project credits:

Design team: Rients Dijkstra and Hiroki Matsuura with Artur Boresjo, Nobuki Ogasahara Rene Sangers, Harm te Velde, Aleksandar Hrib.
Steel manufacturing: IHC Studio Metalix (forming), Van der Zalm (welding)
Contractor: Wallaard

  • Elliot Morgan

    The world’s thinnest bus shelter ever created…

    I kid. The lightness and elegance of these is something to be admired.

  • Chris MacDonald

    Shame about that god awful colour. They could have chosen anything, literally anything other than that, and it would have looked better.

    Form is nice though. Won’t water collect in the top of that concave one?

    • Stephen Mallory

      I love the pink.

  • Husky

    Does it sound like a band of steel pans in the rain?

  • Oliber Tweet

    Perfect to be peeled off by a passing bus.

  • Lee

    I can’t imagine the urge you would get to scribble on that thing with a marker. I’m looking at it on screen and my hand won’t stop shaking.

  • spadestick

    Why do architects have to plead with cities to do things? You mean this was done for free? What a sad story of architects being duped again.

  • Adam

    Would be a lot nicer if they were any other color known to man. The form is beautiful… but what about drainage of the concave roof in the rain/snow? Would that not just become an elevated pond?

  • George

    What happens to the downward concave one when it rains?

    • Rafael

      It looks to me like the curve slopes down towards one (or two?) of the columns. It can only be seen on picture 3 of the slideshow.

  • Jon Sealey

    Looks great, functions great, why is it always the Dutch that come up with this? Fab!

  • k0n

    To those wondering (rightfully so) about the rain drainage of the concave one, look at that sketch published on Maxwan’s website:
    The lowest point is actually to the side and it is drained to the corner column led by a raised border (barely, but visible, on some other images).

    So although there is a bit of water accumulation, it’s not much.