The new Royal Netherlands Embassy sited near Lazienki Park in Warsaw, Poland, was commissioned by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry with the specification that both Chancellery and Ambassador’s residence reflect Holland’s longstanding tradition of transparency and openness.
The residential, almost rural, district to the north of the park already hosts other embassy buildings, all surrounded by imposing walls – a feature that risks changing the character of this open green area. There are also a few historic buildings in the vicinity, including one by Dutch baroque architect, Tylman van Gameren, who greatly influenced Polish architecture during the 17th century. The new embassy design in fact takes its cue from Van Gameren’s muted baroque style in the way it adapts to the parkland context, allowing conservation of most of the existing trees.
Chancellery and Residence relate to each other and their surrounds in a very special way. In compliance with the client brief, the Chancellery is a light, translucent construction designed to reflect the surrounding landscape while the stone Residence stands - a villa in a park – somewhat aloof of its environment. A public courtyard, with views onto the park, connects the two buildings.
The intuitive organic shapes of the main gate make it an independent feature but at the same time an integral part of the building complex. On the street side, gate and glazed screen create a second outer layer. This ‘open’ outer wall is connected to the building by means of loggias - closed structures in natural stone that create a spatial transition between street and buildings.
As a result the Dutch Embassy not only blends with, but is also enclosed by its surrounds. This underlines to great effect each highly individual component, giving physical expression to the Dutch tradition of transparency and openness.
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