KABK graduation project 2011
program: interior / architecture
location: the hague, the netherlands

Stroom Den Haag (an independent foundation founded in 1989) is a centre for art and architecture with a wide range of activities. Starting from the visual arts, architecture, urban planning and design the program focuses on the urban environment.

Stroom organizes exhibitions, projects, lectures, workshops and excursions. It initiates research and debates to stimulate the transfer of knowledge and the development of ideas concerning art, architecture and related disciplines. Within this context Stroom expands its library, develops web dossiers on its website and issues publications. In addition, Stroom’s policy is focused on stimulating the art climate of The Hague and improving the visibility of art and artists from The Hague.

Stroom wishes to attract a diverse crowd. Aside from the building design the location also plays an important role in this. A central location in the heart of The Hague is therefore a must.

Because at the time of my studies Stroom was unfavourably located, and indeed was located in an insufficiently sized building, I decided to design a new building for them in the heart of the city.

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The Spui has always been an important street in the city of The Hague. A central location along this filled-in canal is Spui 34; a corner intersection between societal, cultural, political and commercial buildings. It is also located along an important orientation route from the central station to the city centre. At the time of my design project the building at Spui 34 was in a dilapidated condition; destined to be demolished, with no definitive development plan in place.

The row of buildings of which Spui 34 comprises the corner is also in a somewhat dilapidated condition. This formed the inspiration behind the urban planning concept.

There is beauty to be found in a number of these buildings that at present most definitely does not come to the fore (see photo on the right). This is in part due to their condition, but also due to the neighbouring buildings and their corresponding functions.

In order to justifiably maintain Stroom and the five buildings and to restore them to their full glory, I propose a plan that tackles the entire area by means of a single clear intervention: interweaving the Stroom building through this street.

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The buildings at Spui 2, 12 and 34 are either removed or stripped back to their elementary construction. Stroom will occupy the vacant spots. They will subsequently be interlinked, thus creating a single building that embraces the existing structures and incorporates the street.

By making the ground floor into one large communal area the entire Stroom building becomes an extension of the street, with several entrances and exits. This, together with the actual location, makes entering the building even more accessible. As part of the orientation route through the city you walk under the building whilst experiencing all the Stroom functions around you.

The primary functions of Stroom can roughly be subdivided into two categories: a personnel section (with offices, meeting rooms, canteen, mail room, work spaces, visitor and storage areas) and a public section (with a book shop, workshop, reading rooms, the lobby, and exhibition spaces).

I see the knowledge centre (library, documentation and archive) as a bridging factor in this dichotomy.
In the design this section actually comprises a bridge that interlinks the various functions. It is the long line that runs behind the buildings and that forms the heart of the design.

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in detail: exhibition walls

Exhibitions vary regularly. The exhibition walls are build up of a hollow frame that moves around an axis which slides trough rails in the floor and ceiling of the space. This allows the space to easily adapt to many forms while keeping material and labour costs down.

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