Amsterdam, NL | Maastricht, NL | Zürich, CH
The AvB Tower–a hyper-hybrid academic building located in The Hague–was on October 31st, 2013 officially opened at an inaugural ceremony held in its 220 seat auditorium and attended by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, who delivered a keynote speech whose central theme was: ‘Knowledge as a Global Challenge in Times of Information Overload’. Also in attendance were Professor Jos Schaeken (Dean of Leiden University College at The Hague), Professor Jouke de Vries (Dean of Faculty Campus The Hague), Professor Simone Buitendijk (Vice-Rector Magnificus of Leiden University) and Ingrid van Engelshoven (Deputy Mayor of the municipality of The Hague), all of whom spoke about this new location of the college and the many developments that its creation entailed.
Consisting of 396 apartments and surrounded by the Anna van Beuren Square, the AvB Tower is a dynamic hub threading The Hague’s central train station to the adjacent urban envelope. Clusters of office buildings and a surface parking lot were demolished to create this new residential and retail situation, which is part of a larger master plan to restructure this formerly under-utilized space in the center of this stately city. A newly submerged 3-story parking garage serves as the plinth for the tower’s foundation, dictating its structural solutions due to the pre-existing weight limitations of the parking garage. It was therefore chosen to construct the tower in steel, distributing its structural load across 11 pre-determined columns.
Carving an extension of its lobby from the surrounding square, the tower is accessed via an entryway of stairs and ramps. A sculptural staircase, whose oversized landings encourage informal social exchange, welcomes users upon entry, propelling them up and into the building’s hybrid programming. This staircase traverses a central void, organizing and intuitively routing users to and from the complex program of academic facilities that constitute the tower’s first five floors. The ground floor contains retail and auditoriums, while the second through fifth house lecture halls, a student help desk, and university offices, with 396 student studios occupying the tower’s remaining floors.