Industrial heritage ensemble becomes dynamic living and working area
In the Binckhorst district of The Hague, Mei has been commissioned by Duijnstede Beheer BV to design the transformation of a characteristic industrial heritage ensemble: De Nieuwe Hallen. The industrial halls, commissioned by the municipality in the 1950s for the entrepreneurs of The Hague, played an important role in stimulating the local economy and employment. Now, more than 70 years later, the halls are once again being used for the people of The Hague. With a dynamic program, the transformed Nieuwe Hallen will contribute to living and employment in the area, in line with the lively character of De Binckhorst.
Duijnstede Beheer BV
234 residential units, small-scale work activity, catering facilities, bicycle and car parking
35.400 m2 GFA
At the start of this transformation, the Nieuwe Hallen were still in their original condition. The plan had a unique set-up with office buildings on the edges of the plot (representative function) and industrial buildings in the inner area. The buildings have been set up in such a way that a courtyard structure arises around the halls, distinctive in scale and size. In addition, the typical post-war characteristics of the ensemble, such as the prefabricated concrete trusses and coffered ceilings, give the halls a special quality. In the transformation, the existing qualities are used as much as possible.
Liveliness throughout the day
Together with Duijnstede, Mei developed this plan for a dynamic and healthy living and working environment. The transformation fits in with the historical use and existing quality of the industrial heritage ensemble, as well as the innovative character of De Binckhorst. The program consists of homes, small-scale creative businesses, catering establishments and an urban sports hall, which together will create a liveliness that will last throughout the day. The existing industrial hall will be converted into sub-areas for meet-ups and space for small-scale catering establishments. The rough character of the hall will be embraced, requiring limited investment in insulation and comfort.
New-build volumes are positioned between the transformed halls, which match the existing surroundings in size and scale. The tower volumes are designed in a stepped manner. This provides light, air and space in the plan area and offers opportunities to create spacious green roof terraces. The positioning of the stepped volume is optimized for the best wind, insolation and noise results.
At ground level, the previously closed ‘island’ in the Binckhorst will be opened up to everyone. Greenery will be introduced in the public space between the halls and offer a solution for water storage. Around the characteristic buildings or locations are so-called Binckplaced proposed: attractive meeting places with their own identity, often situated alongside the water. For recreation throughout the day, sunlight in these places is optimized. The spots will also be equipped with greenery and accompanying facilities such as sports and playground equipment. In this way, they will add quality to the entire Binckhorst.
A multifaceted mix of living and working ensures that there is activity in the area throughout the day. The lively character of De Nieuwe Hallen in combination with the versatility of the programme means that the district will soon be serving a broad target group. The specific character of the neighbourhood and the collective mindset of its users will result in a strong community.