The population of The Hague will grow considerably in the next twenty years from 525,000 residents to over 625,000. To meet this challenge, the municipality is encouraging inner-city densification within the Central Innovation District (CID), a triangular area bound by the city’s three train stations.
Project Name: The Grace
Studio Name: Mecanoo
Client: Movement Real Estate and Van Deursen Group
Architect: Mecanoo architecten, Delft
Structural engineer, installations consultant and building physics consultant: Arup, Amsterdam
Densification will begin in three priority zoneswithin the CID. These zones are clustered around the train stations, in accordance with the guidelines presented in the city’s 2018 high-rise report“Eyeline Skyline”. Movement Real Estate and the Van Deursen Group have taken the initiative to develop two residential towers with Mecanoo architecten within one of these CID priority zones, a stone’s throw from Hollands Spoor Station and the centre of The Hague.
The Grace is being realised at Rijswijksewegnear the city centre and overlooks the Trekvliet canal, which will be transformed into a waterfront park for pedestrians and cyclists in the coming years. TheVelostradabicycle highway is also being built, andwill connect The Hague with the surrounding municipalities. The Grace links the Binckhorst andLaakhavens neighbourhoodswith the city-centre, andits combination of living and working spaces connects (starting) entrepreneurs with residents. The residential concept is based on the growing demand for affordable housing and fostering a sense of community. With over 1500 social, medium and free-sector rental properties and a wide range of communal facilities, The Grace addresses this need.
The iconic two-tower ensemble, one reaching 150 meters and the other 180 meters, sits on a seven-storey plinth. The buildings form a harmonious composition with subtle variations in open and closed facade elements, transparent and solid corners, materialisation and colour. Residents can enjoy a view of the city and, beyond that, of the sea. The plinth features commercial functions, a restaurant and offices on the ground floor, while its upper levels contain housing, offices and communal facilities. Arcades on either side of the complex offer protection against wind and rain, and create sheltered places for restaurant customers and shoppers.
The plinth opens to the Schipperskwartierneighbourhoodand the new Trekvlietpark in the form of a raised green roof garden that offers space to the resident community for all kinds of activities. A transparent lobby forms the lively heart of the complex. It offers work and gathering areas for residents, a reception desk for visitors, and an overview of the activities in the surrounding co-working spaces. The lobby is, in fact, an extended home. Here, you can meet each other, or find a place to work or study. The community is further enhanced by shared courtyards and roof gardens, a communal kitchen, sports facilities, and a movie theatre. In addition, the building supports an emerging sustainable subculture, providing residents with shared bicycles and electric cars. The Grace offers attractive communal facilities that connect residents, making it a unique place to live.
Programme: Ensemble of two residential towers of 150 and 180 meters on a seven-storey plinth with 1500 dwellings, composed of 30% social housing, 20% mid-range housing and 50%free-sector rental properties, as well as a wide range of communal facilities, 6,000 m2 of offices, 2,500 m2 of commercial functions, bicycle storage with shared bicycles and 50 shared cars.
Mecanoo is led by founding partner and creative director Francine Houben. Based in the city of Delft, the Netherlands, Mecanoo’s ‘campus’ has expanded to include project offices in New York City, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The practice focuses on complex, multifunctional buildings and integrated urban developments which combine architecture, urban planning, landscaping, and interior design.
Mecanoo’s work covers all sectors and scales including educational and research buildings, libraries, theatres, museums, as well as offices, hotels, leisure, residential, mixed-use, regeneration, landscape, master-planning and mobility. Mecanoo sees this diversity as a major asset in developing contextually responsive and adaptive multifunctional buildings.
Each project individually responds to a methodical philosophy of People, Place, and Purpose: to the client’s requirements and the users’ needs; the physical and historical context; and the current and predicted potential of a building’s function. Within this philosophy, sustainability is an inherent aspect of our design approach, feeding into an ambition to create new identity in a world of globalization; resulting in inspiring and authentic places, socially relevant for people and communities.