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Graduation Project: The Rijnstraat Ministry

ARCHITECTURE     |     2016
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The Project

A redesign for a former ministry building in the city centre of The Hague. Part of this studio was an investigation about the relationship with the building and the surrounding, the employees in the building and the public around the building. The outcome of this investigation formed my design for the building starting on the new square and ends in the offices, the so called sequence of spaces. For this project I got a honourable mention.

Honourable mention, words by Mark Pimlott, first mentor, on behalf of the Board of Examiners:
Joris Korbee’s project for the transformation of the former VROM ministry building in The Hague, as part of the programme The Place of Work set by Architecture of the Interior, proposed a series of subtle and selective alterations to the building fabric that created a network of places throughout to be used and enjoyed by the public and civil servants alike, from a public square at the terminus of the Turfmarkt to the City Lobby, the Rijkslobby, the shared meeting spaces and finally the offices themselves. Each of these spaces was perceived as linked to all the others, reinforced by the careful approach to articulation of spaces and their materialisation. The appearances of the renewed building and its interiors were elegant, elaborate and eminently realisable, and the degree of consideration taken toward aspects of construction and sustainability displayed a heartfelt sense of responsibility to the project and its publics.

Program of the building

Program of the building

West facade and corner plaza

West facade and corner plaza

The Graduatation studio

In the graduation studio it was the task to make a redesign and transformation of a former ministry building the Dutch government city The Hague. Apart from the design, several studies on the environment and the place of work was made. The current building, a design from the nineties from architect Jan Hoogstad is a huge building with a passage running through the building, connecting the railway station with the city centre. The current building has some nice features for example several atria caring for daylight in the higher office spaces. But on ground level the quality of the building is very poor. The passage in the current building is a nice gesture but is now designed as a tunnel and with the idea from the 90s that the government tasks should be hidden for the normal citizens the current building is very introverted designed, which is expressed in the many blind facades the current building has and the lacking relationship with the direct environments. My aim for this design is to create a (visual) relationship between the civil servants inside, and the public outside the building.

To create this visual relationship between in- and outside I removed a part of the building on the centre side. The result was a big open space which is a square for the city but also a entrance plaza for the building. Because of the new square, the passage in the current building is reduced and the space is a begin point of the Rijnstraat, the street running to the city centre. In the new building two ministries are situated: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. Also a public department of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service is situated in the new building. Most of the program is informal and formal work area but also other functions as a restaurant, entrance lobby, fitness area, shops and a large international conference area has to be designed in the building. To place the program around the square the visual relationship is established. From the workspaces one can look out over the square and the rest of the city.

Transformation of the building

Transformation of the building

Research on the public scale

Apart from making a new design for the building the graduation studio also contains three reports about a personal investigation on the building and The Place Of Work. The outcome of the first report is about the building as an office building and the connection of the building with the public surroundings.
The office building is no longer a stable building type. Luckily the design brief of the new ministry in the Rijnstraat requires a building where employees can work and meet. The location of the Rijnstraat building is in the center of The Hague between the Railway station and the city center. Although the area has great potential, the passage in the present building in uninteresting and the area around the building is very anonymously designed. The city has to again reconnect with the building. I think that this connection can be made by designing a public space around or under the Rijnstraat building. The lobby or entrance of the building can be a gathering point for the public space, so that the square becomes a place to be rather than a place to pass through. For the office spaces in the building, the city can be an inspiration for layout and design. Formal and informal spaces can be made to make use of streets and squares.

View from the Turfmartk street towards te new building

View from the Turfmartk street towards te new building

Plan of the ground floor

Plan of the ground floor

Sequence of spaces

In the sequence of spaces one can see all the spaces a civil servant pass by when he or she is going to his/her office space. The civil servant enter the building from the square into the lobby. In the lobby, the civil servant enters the elevator towards the fourth floor, the connecting level between the lower part of the building and the upper part with the offices and the level were employees can meet and do informal working. In this fourth level the civil servant choose one of the three middle cores to go up to one of the ten office levels. In the chosen office level the civil sevant first enters the informal working space. Every two levels in the higher part of the building are connected with this kind of space. It is a space where employees can work, meet and drink a coffee together. The civil servant can choose to work in this space or continue to the formal working space to do some quiet work.

#1 and #2 The plaza and the lobby.
On the ground level a pattern is visible made with large concrete tiles. Every time the space becomes more enclosed, the pattern scales down. Visible on the plaza drawing is the colonnade around the plaza. This colonnade creates a transition zone between in- and outside the building.

#3, #4 and #5
From informal office spaces towards formal office spaces. The fourth floor is a connecting level with different meeting areas and informal work spaces. Every two office floors are connected with each other with an informal meeting area. The formal offices are situated in the slabs of the building.
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South facade

Sequence of spaces

South facade

South facade

The main lobby

The main lobby

Interior wall and floor of the lobby

Interior wall and floor of the lobby

Materialization, the lobby and the office landscape.

Materialization is an important aspect in the building. On the one hand it forms a contrast between part of the existing building, which have a rough appearance and the new parts which a more sleek appurtenance. On the other hand the materialization gives the spaces an elegant look, a look suitable for a ministry building. I choose to use natural materials such as copper, concrete, cork and travertine. The copper is used for the furniture and the parapets. To use the copper in combination with high pressure laminate (HPL), only a very thin layer (foil) of copper is needed, less than a quarter of a millimeter. In the image of the lobby one can see the elegant layout of the materials. The concrete is use for the floor and structure, travertine for the cores and copper for furniture, parapets and some interior walls. On the fourth floor I introduced an office landscape. Inspired by a studie done by RAAAF called The End of Sitting, I created a place where employees could do some informal working and meeting on a landscape like area. No chairs are provided, the landscape offers places to sit, stand and lean.

Floorplan of the 4th floor

Floorplan of the 4th floor

The office landscape on the 4th floor

The office landscape on the 4th floor

Model of the office space

Model of the office space

Interior wall, floorplan and ceiling of the office space

Interior wall, floorplan and ceiling of the office space

The Place of Work

The second and third report are about The Place of Work. The offices in the Rijnstraat should be designed according the rules of the New Way of Working. In the reports I investigate the NWW and I found some contradictions in the principles: In the introduction I question a contradiction that I found within the New Way of Working: the contradiction between creating a creative work space versus the clean desk policy. How can a company expect a creative working environment if the clean desk policy requires that the office space is kept empty?

In the NWW, the emphasis is on autonomy and freedom as basic concepts. Teleworking and a different office layout are the starting points for the NWW. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment has implemented the NWW three years ago. The ministry had two type of office floor layouts. In the first type there was a big open informal meeting space with different kinds of furniture, creating a creative and colourful working environment. In the second type, the office had a traditional layout with a variety of small office rooms. The lack of an informal meeting space, open work spaces and signs of identification resulted in a very empty and anonymous office environment.

View from the offices towards the city and the Turfmarkt street

View from the offices towards the city and the Turfmarkt street

The VIP space on the top floors

The VIP space on the top floors

Models

For the graduation project I worked with several models. From the beginning till the end I worked with a rough 1:100 study model of the lower part of the building. For the end presentation I made a neat 1:100 model of the lower part. I used this big model, with the dimensions of 900 x 1800 mm., for photos (I made several cuts in the model) and to show my intentions during the final presentation. During the progress I made several other models: a model of the fourth floor, showing my intentions of the office level (model 1:500) and a 1:33 model of a corner of the façade, investigating the details. Another important model was a 1:50 model of the informal working space showing how the two office levels are connected to each other and the spatial qualities of the area.

All images

picture picture picture picture picture East facade picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture picture
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