Upon its completion in 1992, Rijnstraat 8, the former Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) building represented both an innovative office typology – its atriums served as conservatories: the outside brought inside – and a leading example of sustainability. Today the building, designed by in the 1980s, no longer offers the flexibility and openness required of a contemporary office space. In collaboration with the original architect, Jan Hoogstad, and in the context of a Public Private Partnership under the name of PoortCentraal (consisting of BAM, ISS and OMA), OMA has developed an integrated concept for the building based on a renewal of its existing architectural qualities.
The transformation of Rijnstraat 8 is the first large-scale implementation of a new masterplan for the Dutch government’s office accommodation, which proposes major changes in the organizational structure of the government and its real estate portfolio, aiming at greater efficiency in the designing, building, financing, maintenance and operations of governmental office space. Rijnstraat 8 brings together two ministries and two governmental organizations – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BZ), the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (IenM), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) – in a single building with flexible working spaces. The building’s congress facilities act as a meeting center for all ministries in The Hague.
OMA’s design gives the building a new relation to the city of The Hague, opening it up to the adjacent public space and connecting it to the city, both visually through a large new glass facade, and functionally through the creation of a new, enlarged passage that acts as a public square: the Rijksplein. From the Rijksplein, the main entrances to Rijnstraat 8 are clearly recognizable. The introduction of open plan offices helps reveal the building’s internal processes. A new walkway running the entire length of the building improves one’s sense of direction and provides each floor with a view to the city. The central conservatory space, surrounded by administrative squares and office landscapes on double height floors, enables a variety of meeting and work spaces and facilitates flexible ways of working which require less office space.
In the process, a combination of renovation and transformation, the use of new materials has been minimized: of the 20% of the building that was demolished, 99.7% has been reused. Energy consumption has been significantly reduced through the application of triple glass, the use of solar panels, LED lights and a heat and cold storage.
The Rijnstraat 8, originally designed in the 1980’s is a redesign project undertaken by a Public Private Partnership that includes original architect Jan Hoogstad as well as the OMA. The redesign opens the building up to the city of The Hague with a custom glass facade design.
Bart Nicolaas, Project Manager at the OMA explains a main design goal was to achieve as much thermal insulation of building materials as possible, particularly within the facade system. The glazed facade comprises a tailor-made aluminium construction with narrow opening vents integrated into special made vertical transoms and large glazing expanses in the new build areas. The solution is a collaboration between the architecture team, Saint-Gobain and Schüco. ‘We created smart solutions with no compromise at all referring to the look of the building with a minimum of details and maximum transparency,’ says Nicolaas.
In the process, a combination of renovation and transformation, the use of new materials has been minimized: of the 20% of the building that was demolished, 99.7% has been reused. Energy consumption has been significantly reduced through the application solar panels LED lights, heat and cold storage and the triple glazed facade system.
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Rijksgebouwendienst as client had clear starting-points according to the sustainability of the building. Thereby they applied to much transparent sense to the costs. Bart Nicolaas - projectmanager at OMAOffice for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam says: "Our goal was to achieve much thermal insulation of the building materials, as particular the façade systems. As a result a very low EPC of 0,44. The renovation of the existing building was realised with a minimum waste, less demolish an re-using old materials." Bart Nicolaas had a great experience realising the façades, especially the new façades at the new-build section, showing narrow opening vents integrated in special made vertical transoms and large glazing. "Working together with the supplier for the glazing (red. Saint-Gobain) and Schüco for the special tailor-made aluminium constructions we created smart solutions with no compromise at all referring to the look of the building with a minimum of details and maximum transparency.