The Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 (B30) is an imposing and powerful 20th Century building in The Hague. The new design is the re-interpretation of the original design’s essence and is based on a clear plan to achieve an open and transparent architecture. B30 is now a 21.000m2 contemporary, flexible environment housing three independent Government Advising Institutions (CPB, SCP and PBL), the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure and the Dutch Data Protection Authority.
Originally designed in 1917 as a ministry building by architect Daniel E.C. Knuttel and renovated by professor Hans Ruijssenaars in 1993, B30 is an imposing structure with a strong, distinct architectural character. The listed building is located alongside the Haagse Bos in the city center of The Hague, next to the historical arterial route connecting the Royal Palace Huis ten Bosch and the Dutch Parliament, Het Binnenhof. In line with the needs of a contemporary working environment, the closed hierarchical building has been transformed into an open and inviting environment with a clear spatial configuration and additive design. The transparent ground floor is accessible for the public and includes a restaurant, café, auditorium, library, meeting and seminar rooms.
Knuttel’s original design has been expanded on both sides: the seminar foyer features meeting rooms, seminar rooms, and a sunken auditorium running through the glazed space, while the work foyer is characterized by lounge and working areas, an espresso bar and a library. Large pivoted glass doors encased by high-gloss aluminium frames provide access to the gardens from the foyers. The monumental staircase grants access to the magnificent former Minister’s Room on the first floor, while the Atrium visually connects with the four upper floors.
The large atrium at the core of the building becomes the quiet heart of B30. The mosaic floor, designed by Dutch artist Rob Birza, represents a garden abstraction giving life to an internal landscape that is visually connected to the city forest and the new side gardens. The atrium connects the four upper floors, which house workspaces for various institutions.
A new level of offices is situated over the ‘nave’ of the historic building and flows into the roof, where the height has been reduced from 30 to 20 metres to bring good scale and proportions to the inner courtyard. This floor is, architecturally and conceptually, the counterpart to the public ground floor and foyers below. Employing a similar architectural language ensures that unity is achieved in the building as a whole: functionally, technically and in terms of spatial monumentality.
In the design for B30 a bright floor plan, natural routing and short walking distances play a major role. Moreover, corridors are aligned with each other, creating long sightlines through the building, enhancing contact with the street, woods and gardens, and simplifying orientation and way-finding. The façades of the new additions consist of sandblasted concrete frames filled with stone, matching the tones of the original building. Moreover, the change in hierarchical relations and the importance of the ground floor has been expressed in the façade by enlarging the windows.
B30 is a PPP Project, based on a DBFMO contract with the Dutch Central Government Real Estate Agency and Facilicom. Within the contract, KAAN Architecten provided all design, engineering and consultancy services related to architecture, interior architecture and functionality. B30 is now a space for contemporary ideas and research regarding government transparency, and this use is reflected in the new design. It is a spatial expression of a vision shared by all three organizations housed here, that will aid and inspire both debate and collaboration.
KAAN Architecten is a Rotterdam based architectural firm operating in a global context and merging practical and academic expertise within the fields of architecture, urbanism and research on the built environment.
The studio, led by Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen and Dikkie Scipio, consists of an international team of architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers and graphic designers. KAAN Architecten believes cross-pollination between projects and disciplines is a tool to fostering a critical debate within the studio.
Since the launch of the firm, KAAN Architecten has handled and supervised a wide range of projects, actively working with the private and the public sector, with project teams that become increasingly multidisciplinary and dynamic. KAAN Architecten maintains a culture of constant evolution, which is essential in a profession that changes at a rapid pace. KAAN Architecten seeks to uphold long-term relationships with clients, consultants and partners.