Binck Blocks is a nature-inclusive residential tower in The Hague. With its sturdy silhouette in the city skyline, Binck Blocks will become the entrance to the new district of Binckhorst, a landmark that serves as point of reference from all over the city. The design is a stacked city district with six vertical ‘neighbourhoods’, each featuring a different housing typology. The building has an innovative, creative and rough edge and represents high circular ambitions. Now Binckhorst is still a fairly monotonous industrial area, but this tower gives a clear signal that you will live here pleasantly and sustainably in the near future.
Project Name: Binck Blocks
Architect Name: LEVS architecten
In the design, LEVS sets off the concept of a vertical, heterogeneous city. The building contains new residential typologies that tie in with urban growth and transformation. A city always consists of different neighbourhoods, which are a familiar living environment.
People live together and know each other. The street, the square, the neighbourhood park and the local bar are places that give the neighbourhood a unique character, by which the residents identify themselves. A tower is often an anonymous volume, unsuitable for families, with social monotony and a lack of typological variation. Binck Blocks is different. It is a residential tower in which the entire spectrum of city residents gets a place. The building is divided into recognizable spatial volumes, with specific collective places in each one of them, such as a roof park, a play street or city balcony. This creates vertical neighbourhoods with a wide variety of housing typologies and a distinguished own identity, so that the design addresses different target groups.
Here, all houses are located at the three-storey high inner street where children can play ‘outside’. In the top-located Crown, residents can meet in a collective roof park. With the view of The Hague and the coast, the tower creates the connection with the city.
Apparently playfully stacked metal volumes in a lead red colour characterize the tower and refer to the industrial buildings in the surroundings. LEVS has designed a modular system for all façades with a rational grid of aluminium profiles. As a result of a different housing typology, the filling with glass and bronze solar panels or aluminium panels differs per neighbourhood, so that they are recognizable from the outside. Windows down to the floor allow a glimpse at the street and give a metropolitan quality of living. The transition between the neighbourhoods is emphasized by the doubling of the façade profiles and the offset of the volumes, creating a dynamic building with playful openings. The cantilevers are supported by expressive constructive elements. At ground level, robust slanted steel profiles set the tower to the ground. Here the tower has a commercial function with a blurring zone where residents and neighbourhood can meet. The ground floor area is invitingly transparent and blends the tower in an architectural and programmatical way with its surroundings. The entire façade is dismountable and therefore prepared for a circular future.
The nature-inclusive concept is designed by Flux landscape architects. By approaching nature as in natural symbiosis with the city, opportunities arise for a new arrangement in which ecological cycles are formed. These opportunities are utilized in Binck Blocks by offering space for flora and fauna in the collective spaces, façades and balconies.
As a result, nature is literally drawn within the building. One aspect of the nature-inclusive design is the ‘landscape as a machine’. For example, rainwater is collected in the building and used to maintain the vegetation. The greenery also improves the air quality and lowers the heat stress in the summer. For biodiversity, the building is considered an ecosystem. Birds, butterflies and insects nest in green shelters up to a maximum height of fifty meters. For ‘height specialists’ such as the common swift, green ‘stepping stones’ create a passage. A green façade at 100 meters does not contribute in terms of nature inclusivity. However, a strategic design of this vertical landscape turns the tower into a biodiversity hub in the urban green structure, a green pivot in an otherwise little green environment.
LEVS architecten works from the notion that architecture and urban planning have quite a significant impact on our surroundings, on people and society as a whole, as well as the environment. We welcome the challenge of complex projects in which our aim lies in finding surprising solutions which deliver a result beyond prior expectations. Our goal is to design buildings and areas where residents will eventually articulate a passion about the places they work, live and inhabit; spaces which express an optimal interweaving of functionality, aesthetics and sustainability.
Our field of expertise and interest is all encompassing and includes mainly residential buildings in different urban settings, often combined with other functions. The projects concern new construction, reuse or renovation and restoration. Given our firm’s depth of knowledge, we also possess the expertise to handle complex tasks involving distinctive programmes. Our projects are not characterised by a fixed, set signature design aesthetic; at all times our firm’s guiding principle is to design, detail and create buildings which weave a connection with their locality and surroundings. Key elements in our design process are collaboration and a focus on solutions. We design to build and are driven by a ‘feet-on-the-ground’ idealism, with the aim of creating value for both the client and for society as a whole.