Residential building in the centre of The Hague by Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau
Text of Den Haag - La Fenêtre
The location for this residential building in The Hague is dominated by large-scale infrastructure from the second half of the 0th century: the railway yard with the Prince Bernhard viaduct above it, two via-ducts for buses and trams at the side, and finally the Utrechtsebaan road. Two large government buildings, the National Library of the Netherlands and the National Archive, stand with their backs to this area. The municipality of The Hague wanted to reconcile this infra-structure with the city once more by creating an integrated whole of mixed urban spaces and functions. In this context, and also with a view to functionality, making the area more lively outside of office hours, a prestigious residential building was required.Anyone seeing the site before construction began would hardly believe there could be a place here for 115 homes, creating a more varied use of the space.In the new situation, the viaduct is transformed into an elegant Prince Bernhard Boulevard, creating the effect that the railway lines appear to run underground below the new ground level. The residential building La Fentre, on the corner with the station complex, therefore stands on a wedge-shaped raised pedestal, which contains parking garages and storage areas, on a level with the boulevard. Above it runs a new footpath, with its entrance and lift halls between the long legs of the building. The tight location for the construction, the requirement for a substructure which is as open as possible, and the creation of flexible internal divisions for the apartments were the inspiration for designing a unique steel construction for the whole building.Nine sets of columns, made up of steel tubes fanning out from a foot, form a slender pillared nave, supporting the volume of the homes 17 storeys at a height of 0 metres, rising to 69 metres high. The apartments are grouped around two lift halls, with seven apartments of around 10 m on each storey. The shape of the volume, slim to the east and at the Utrechtsebaan, and broadly hinged out to the west and the city centre, makes optimum use of the location, and gives the building its dynamism and character as a result.The outer walls are made entirely of glass. In addition, the south and east gables have a striking texture: by repeatedly jumping 10 cm outwards at every second storey, they add a subtle extra layer to the dynamic of the building. In this way, the outward-leaning silhouette of the outer walls, with their rich relief playing with the light, acquires a distinct crystalline effect.With a green roof rising to 10 metres, which joins on to a walkway and masks the blank wall of the National Archive, the stately building, with its footprint of a stiletto heel, stands precisely in its place.