Consortium PvJ, composed of Barcode Architects, HUB Architects, engineering firm ABT and landscape architect Karres en Brands, have been selected for the sustainable renewal of the Palace of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Based on a leading theme in the design, which is het Nieuwe Bowen, the new Palace will be built upon the principles of “what is available”, in order to minimize CO2 emissions and societal lifecycle costs as well as to maximize health, functionality and flexibility.
Set to be built as an inviting building, the building, incorporating a reassuring effect on the visitors, is an ensemble of functions that are optimized for its users and presents itself visibly and open to the city and society.
“Healthy, functional, ecological and socially inclusive”
The construction of the building will focus on the reuse of materials and architectural and technical innovations, while creating a contemporary building complex that become healthy, functional, ecological and socially inclusive.
The Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, the Central government real estate company, aims to make all their real estate management and tenders entirely circular by 2030 and the entire real estate stock by 2050. This large-scale and complex renewal of the Palace of Justice fits within that ambition.
The renewal of the project will reincorporate the existing building complex into its context and address the Palace of Justice in the city.
Consortium PvJ’s new design scheme will restore Sevenhuijsen’s original all-sided design for the P1 low-rise building. This building section is detached from P2, which was added as a new extension in the 1990s.
In this way, the design team makes the separate building sections more recognisable, while the design upgrades the different urban sides of this building part.
“This will give both buildings P1, which is Sevenhuijsen’s low-rise building, and P2, Niek van Vugt’s 90s tower, a captivating entrance on the renovated forecourt on Prins Clauslaan,” said a press statement by Barcode Architects.
The team has designed the forecourt carefully in coherence with the buildings and surroundings and responds to the various usage dynamics. For example, the square, which is part of the entrance area, creates an interaction between building and landscape. The square is also a space for staying and resting, for waiting, meeting or working.
The heavy base of P2 is replaced by two slender columns and this intervention improves the view of the entrances and makes the public space larger and more welcoming.
Setting the building slightly back on Theresiastraat creates a welcome widening of the street profile. This widened space allows the building to fit in optimally, and to continue the row of trees of Theresiastraat encouraging the return of colour and biodiversity to the street.
On Juliana van Stolberglaan, the original design of the Palace remains unchanged. The intervention here is limited to trimming back the greenery to make the building visible from the busy city artery.
An ensemble of independent parts
“The design of the facades reflects the mission of the judiciary: to be recognisable and representative, ordered and structured with an authoritative character,” said Barcode Architects.
“We set ourselves the goal of creating a contemporary building with maximum reuse of façade materials.”
The design team design three buildings as an ensemble, proposing different functions. P1 and P2 buildings are conceived as open and transparent and the plinths are clearly related.
The dimensions of P2’s plinth connect to the strong rhythm of P1’s free- standing columns. The characteristic wooden window frames recur at ground level in both buildings. This creates, on the outside, a strongly coherent whole.
While the P1 is a low-rise building, the monolithic design of building section P1 has a clear volumetric structure to be an inviting plinth topped by an office layer and two public layers.
As in the original design, the heads of the internal circulation routes are equipped with large open windows. As a result, the organisational structure of the building is reflected in the external façade. At the same time, users can enjoy a generous view of the surroundings from the building.
The façade of the P1 building is made of grey granite elements that are completely reused. These elements are partly cut out, behind which floor-to-ceiling glass elements are placed. The special quality and appearance of the façade can be perceived on the second and third floors.
The team has modified the whimsical shape of the tower to create P2 high-rise volume part of the ensemble. According to the studio, “this gives the desired calm in the appearance and makes the tower an integral part of the whole.”
In addition, the office gave the volume a clear structure: a massive low-rise with an open plinth, a recognisable high-rise volume and an independent, recognisable crown. The studio plans to resuse both the natural stone and glass on the façade of the building. The sandblasted finish gives the natural stone a greyer appearance, reinforcing the connection with P1.
Taking the vision of “human and nature at the centre of the design” into the core of the project, the scheme creates an open building, where greenery runs from outside to inside, where the climate is strictly regulated only where necessary.
The building also focuses on the use of less material and energy and where a positive contribution to biodiversity ensures a healthier working climate for the user and a reduction of heat stress for the city.
“Our design vision maximises the natural qualities of the exterior to the interior. Daylight and greenery provide tranquillity and orientation,” said the studio.
“The interior material palette consists of a mix of reused existing materials and new bio-based materials, which together contribute to hospitable and comfortable waiting and gathering areas.”
“A selection of materials in which attention has been paid to tactility and the human scale. A coherent and fresh palette, which builds on the valuable elements of the historic interior,” added the office.
On the roof of the low-rise, the team has added a connector, a new circular walkway that brings everything in relation to each other. By creating a short, clear route from the offices of high-rise P1 and P2 to the courtrooms and functions of low-rise P1, the use value for its residents increases.
Currently, the team is working out the preliminary design design stage up to a completed preliminary phase in autumn 2023. The final design is expected to be concluded at the end of 2024.
As Barcode Architects explained, during the implementation phase, between 2025 and 2033, the building will remain in use by the public.
Barcode Architects with BIG completed a triangular housing block, forming a gateway over the IJ-lake in Amsterdam’s IJburg district in the Netherlands. The firm’s CasaNova – a 110-metre high-rise set to be Rotterdam’s first triangular tower, is under construction in Rotterdam.
All renderings © infunctievan.
All drawings © Barcode Architects.
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