B30 Governmental Offices, The Hague

Designed by: KAAN Architecten
For client: Central Government Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf), The Hague Floor area: 21000.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: 年度市政空间

About the Project

The Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 is an imposing and powerful 20th Century building in The Hague. The new design is the re-interpretation of the original design’s essence and is based on a clear plan to achieve an open and transparent architecture.

Pivoting doors allow the external gardens to enter the foyer area. The entire ground floor is an extension of the public and collective spaces and includes a seminar room, several meeting rooms, a restaurant and an espresso bar. At the core of the building, a large Atrium becomes the quiet heart of B30. Here, Dutch artist Rob Birza was called upon to design a new mosaic floor pattern, a garden abstraction giving life to an internal landscape that is visually connected with the city forest and the new side gardens.

All the workplaces spread in four floors have similar interiors quality by maintaining their own identity. A bright floor plan, natural routing and short walking distances play a major role. All passages are aligned and generate direct view lines through the building to allow an easy way-finding.

New roofs and ceilings characterize the foyers and the new workplaces and are designed in accordance with the structural and decorative coffers of the old Knuttel building (originally built in 1917).

What’s unique about it

Most historic buildings are inherently strong, otherwise they would not have survived. However, it is a building’s capacity to adapt that determines whether or not it has earned long-term functional legitimacy. A helping hand is sometimes needed to breathe new life into a building.

In staying true to the essence of the original design, it is possible to fall in love with a historic building, to come to understand it and to move forward with a vocabulary of forms and materials that remain close to the original. Through a contemporary translation we can come to a single integrated design, without historicism, in which old and new transition sympathetically into one another and, together, form a unified whole.
This is a way of working that ensures respectful handling of a historic building while also keeping it from becoming a historic relic, merely for conservation.

As founding partner Dikkie Scipio points out: ´We have chosen to interpret the original concept of the building uding contemporary language. We are firmly convinced that this is the most appropriate approach to take.´ B30 now gives space to contemporary ideas regarding government transparency, seen through the original design. A spatial expression of a shared vision that will inspire curiosity and invite research and debate.

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