Industrial heritage ensemble becomes dynamic living and working area

On the Melkwegstraat across the harbor in the Binkhorst district in The Hague, a distinctive industrial heritage ensemble: De Nieuwe Hallen is situated.

These industrial halls were built for the Hague entrepreneurs in the 1950s on behalf of the municipality, to stimulate the local economy and employment. The interest in this was great. The halls are still in their original state. The design of the ensemble, with office buildings at the borders (representative function) and industrial halls in the inner area, is unique. The ensemble is set up in such a way that a court structure has been created around the hall, special in scale and size. The construction with prefabricated concrete trusses and cassette ceilings is also very characteristic of the post-war construction method.

For the Nieuwe Hallen, Mei architects and planners developed this plan for a dynamic and healthy living and working environment for entrepreneurs from The Hague and internationally oriented business. The plan is in line with the historical use and the existing quality of the industrial heritage ensemble and with the innovative character of De Binckhorst. The program will be complemented with catering industry and small-scale retail to enhance the liveliness of the area. We also add, in phases, a suitable residential product: lofts, ‘3 generations housing’ and work-living homes (of which 30% social rent).

The plan is subdivided into a development vision for the short and the long term. In the short term, space will be created for start-ups and companies that focus on social and technological innovations with international impact. The interior of the existing industrial hall will be set up as a common shared space for meet-ups with space for small-scale catering. The rough character of the hall is embraced and only limited investment in insulation and comfort is required. Each start-up will have its own, flexible and comfortable pavilion. The pavilions are circular, easily adaptable and movable and give each company its own identity.

In the long term, new halls, appropriate in terms of scale and size, will be added to the ensemble. The plinth remains intended for work, with more space for companies in The Hague. The business is being scaled up from innovative, creative start-ups to scale-ups to corporate office space. Housing will also be built on top of the new halls. The new volumes are trampled in position, considering the sun and the view. A good reflection of the public space, within the existing court structure, is also essential. In addition to extra green in the public space, the roofs will also be covered with green.

Because of the lively mix of living and working, the area is activated throughout the day. The specific character of Nieuwe Hallen, the lively mix of business and living against a backdrop of unique industrial heritage, will attract a group of people with the same mindset, a ‘community’.