The idea that buildings should possess a social significance is certainly to be found in the residential project De Oriënt in The Hague. Pivotal here was to realise homes tailored to the largely Surinamese-Hindustani community that is concentrated in the third largest city in the Netherlands, the seat of our government. The design is a combination of the typical residential blocks in The Hague, which surround semi-public courtyards, and ornamentation which reflects Hindustani influences but also refers to the Art Nouveau.
The plan for De Oriënt was designed to fit a triangular ‘insertion’ into the urban structure.
Because of its perimeter block typology, this block conforms to the urban structure of the Transvaal neighbourhood. However, the block is bigger than the surrounding blocks, which results in a more spacious internal courtyard and dwellings that are oriented more advantageously.
The plan is composed of 76 single-family dwellings of three or four stories, 16 lift-access apartments and 11 smaller porch-access apartments. There is also 650 m2 of commercial space at street level at the block’s apex.
The internal court is comprised of two semi-public courtyards, the largest of which is situated on the first-floor level, as are the terraces of the family dwellings. Below this there is a car park for 150 vehicles.
The family dwellings form the spatial boundary of the two lanes. This ground-access type of dwelling constitutes a supplement to the existing housing stock, which primarily consists of walk-up flats. The living space is set on the first floor, overlooking the inner courtyard. Depending on the inhabitants wishes the dwellings can be provided with an extension and an attic conversion. The architecture is subservient to that of the block as a whole, the façades being particularised in the sight lines from the neighbouring streets.
Due to its form and position in the city, the apex of the block overlooking the square in front of the Juliana Church demands a special elaboration. With an extra floor, the ornamentation of the open spaces and a commercial space on the ground floor, this apex together with the specific ornamentation and cupola’s is the plan’s showpiece to the whole of the city.
Location: The Hague, NL
My Role: Principal designer