Koekamp Visitor Center, The Hague Holland, Architecture Development, Dutch Design Images

Koekamp Visitor Center in The Hague

14 July 2022

Design: Powerhouse Company and DELVA

Location: Den Haag, Netherlands

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Holland

Photos by Adrià Goula

Koekamp Visitor Center, Den Haag

Powerhouse Company and DELVA join forces to create a unique gateway to a new Dutch national park – right in the heart of The Hague.

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Holland Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague

Rotterdam-based architects Powerhouse Company and Amsterdam-based DELVA combine architecture and nature in their seamless design for the new Koekamp Visitor Center, which will play an important role as a gateway to the new Hollandse Duinen national park. It opens part of Koekamp to the public, a green expanse that reaches into the heart of The Hague and is home to deer and storks.

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague

The visitor center, which has been commissioned by the Dutch forestry commission (Staatsbosbeheer), is expected to be completed in 2024.

“For this grand entrance to a new national park, we have integrated architecture and nature. The landscape plays a leading role.”
– Paul Stavert, Partner Architect Powerhouse Company

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Holland Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Holland

A green history
Just a stone’s throw from The Hague’s Central Station, Koekamp is a survival from medieval times: a cattle field turned deer park (Philip the Good brought the first deer here). It became a public landscape, popular for walks, from the early 17th century. Later, it was partly landscaped in the English country house style by 19th-century landscape architect Jan David Zocher. Largely fenced off in more recent times, it has become more of a place to admire from a distance than to visit.

Today, Koekamp links the heart of the city and its train station to a network of green areas in The Hague and beyond, including the Malieveld, the Haagse Bos and the many miles of sand dunes along the coast. These diverse areas are now combined under the umbrella of a new national park, the Hollandse Duinen park. The new visitor center will be the park’s gateway, inviting people to explore part of the Koekamp, or venture further afield.

Natural highs
“We wanted to create an entrance that is not just a building, but a landscape. The balance between architecture, program, and design of the park is essential here. Our inspiration was the past. Instead of repeating history, we lovingly adapt it and put it back with respect for nature and within the design spirit of landscape architect Zocher.”
– Steven Delva, DELVA Landscape Architecture | Urbanism

Koekamp is one of the four green spots of the Green Entrance: a new area of greenery around Central Station designed by DELVA, including KJ Plein (Koningin Julianaplein). In the plan, Koekamp will be bordered by the new Koninklijke Stadspark, a lush green park that will reveal the city’s diversity, as well as forming the gateway to the national park in the making. The contrast between these green landscapes in the heart of the city and the urban fabric is very pronounced, where the new visitor center will retain and enhance this contrast.

Koekamp will have stronger connections with the city and to the other green landscapes around it, including a new bridge which will better connect it to the park zone at Bezuidenhoutseweg. In addition to the existing entrance on the east side of the site, there will be an entrance in the form of a pedestrian bridge on the north side leading from the Malieveld. In the past, there was also an entrance on this side that connected to Koekamplaan: the royal, connecting road between Huis ten Bosch and Noordeinde Palace. By adding this second connection, the grounds become part of the walk around Koekamp envisaged in line with Zocher’s ideas.

The new Koekamp is characterized by ecological and ‘stinsen’ plants. The latter are bulbs that bloom during spring and are typical for country estates and forestlike areas.

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague

Design for trees
The monumental trees on the site guide the design and will be retained as an integral part of the visitor’s experience. They determined the site and size of the new visitor center, where the architecture nestles among them. Three houses are positioned carefully in between the tree trunks under a unifying triple-winged roof that smoothly weaves between the green canopy and converges around a central, circular court that will accommodate another beautiful oak. The result is a design that is perfectly integrated in nature and is weaves between it.

The two public wings house an information center to the south, where visitors can learn about the landscape and its long history, and a restaurant to the north. The central circular court forms an informal outdoor meeting space, with room for activities such as a play area. The third wing accommodates the offices of the forestry commission, which also offers workshop space in an old coach house nearby. Visitors will now be able to see and understand some of the foresters’ work.

“We divided the functions under a triple-winged roof, offering an outdoor experience. Visitors and foresters alike can move between them on an equal level.”
– Albert Richters, Associate Architect Powerhouse Company

The buildings are constructed entirely in timber and glass. The gable end walls are completely glazed and transparent, offering views through to the trees on the other side, while the side walls are timber with grooved detailing. This combination of façade materials – 50% wood, 50% glass – offers the greatest energy efficiency. The trio of structures rests on a floating wooden platform, surrounded by a looping pattern of paths evoking the organic pathways characteristic of Zocher’s work.

“Koekamp offers a marked contrast with the urban architecture of the Hague by being modern and smooth yet warm and welcoming.”
– Emma Scholten, Project Architect Powerhouse Company

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague

About Powerhouse Company
Based in Rotterdam, Powerhouse Company is an international architecture and design company with studios in Beijing, Oslo, and Munich. Its portfolio ranges from furniture, interior design and product development to architecture, urban planning, and research. Its work is characterized by timeless elegance and innovation, with a strong focus on detailing. Powerhouse Company has won several international prizes, including the Dutch Design Award, the Maaskant Prize, the AM/NAI Award, and the Nykreditt Prize. Its projects have been widely featured in publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Monocle and Domus.

About DELVA Landscape Architecture | Urbanism
DELVA Landscape Architecture | Urbanism, based in Amsterdam and Antwerp, was founded in 2008 by landscape architect Steven Delva. We are convinced of the power of our craft: working with the systematics of nature to tackle the major challenges of the future. That is why we turn the design process upside down and take the landscape as our basis. We use spatial development as a means of densification, greening, and sustainability.

Starting from the essence of the place, we create meaningful landscapes and spatial experiences, from sketch to realization. By taking a position and cooperating integrally with all partners in the design process, we connect the landscape intrinsically with buildings, technology, policy, and financial viability. DELVA’s team of young, international landscape architects, urban designers and civil engineers work together with external specialists, including urban ecologists and contractors.

Their work has been published internationally. Founder Steven Delva is a regular guest critic at various international universities and at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Holland

Koekamp Visitor Center in The Hague, Holland – Building Information

Architects: Powerhouse Company – EL EQUIPO CREATIVO
Landscape Architect: DELVA
Client: Staatsbosbeheer

Location: The Hague, NL
Size: 600 sqm
Status: Concept design

Koekamp Visitor Center The Hague Holland

Photographer: Adrià Goula

Koekamp Visitor Center, The Hague Holland images / information received 140320 from v2com newswire

Location: Den Haag, Netherlands

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