Central Innovation District The Hague

The Hague, NL

Type Design study
Year 2020-2021
Location Beatrixkwartier, The Hague
Size 20 ha
Client O-team, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
I.c.w. Municipality of The Hague, IF Technology, GreenPass
Team Cees van der Veeken, Viola Smit, Mariya Protsyk, Roberto Coccia, Andrea Tomasino

The Beatrix quarter used to be top of the list of best business parks in the Netherlands, but has fallen out of the top 20 these days. About time to reconnect and resource. ‘On The Grid’ connects the Beatrixkwartier to the city of the Hague. This fancy but outdated office district becomes an environment for new residents, flora and fauna.

‘On The Grid’ is all about tapping into hidden energy streams, reintroducing lost green layers, adding people, creating new cultures and recladding the monoculture of shiny office towers. Innovation and business are the central themes of the so-called ‘Central Innovation District’.

Translating that into the public realm means we invest in the new ‘grand projects’ of the 21st century: the park. In the seventies we celebrated infrastructure at the heart of our cities. In the ninety’s architecture was peaking, and now we realize we have to make our neighborhoods walkable, enjoyable and sustainable. This all reflects in the central gesture of covering the Utrechtsebaan with a new city park.

This ‘Utrechtsepark’ pushes out the car infrastructure and liberates the pedestrian. Existing and new links are combined with a curated programming of these routes, ranging from cultural to ecological. At the joints of the Grid it all comes together.

Long (historical) lines, with each their own character, cross the project and at the junctions, moments are created with new programme

The grid also works on the smaller scale where we elaborated on the 4 main threads:

1. The long thread
At the Schenkkade the busy traffic junction is transformed into a linear park. The water is extended as far as possible. The former green-blue corridor will be restored in a contemporary way, a combination of reuse and the addition of extra greenery on the existing Schenk Viaduct. The expansion of the water and the greenery will create a slow-traffic connection along the quay with various pleasant places to stay.

2. The social thread
Between Bezuidenhout East, West and Rivierenbuurt Noord the street profile turns pedestrian. Car traffic is downgraded. This creates a safe and pleasant route where children can walk and play on the street again.

3. The royal tread
Beatrixlaan is designed as a lively and leafy city boulevard. One double car lane will be removed and in the street the car will become guests. There is much more space for cyclists and pedestrians, but also for trees, reeds and water.

4. The big green thread
The Utrechtsepark will be an iconic city park with a diverse program that brings together all the long lines in the area. Instead of cars exhausts you smell the roses. Instead of tires you hear the sound of birds. At the intersections of the different long lines new edges are created and new amenities are added that relate to the character of the long lines.

Adding more space for nature to the Schenkviaduct and extending the water of the Schenk restores the green-blue corridor through the city

Before and after show how quality is added to the lines of the grid

Beatrixlaan: a more lively and green boulevard

Utrechtsebaan: from a motorway to a linear and diverse park

Neighbourhood route: a more green and safe environment

The Utrechtsebaan transforms into an iconic city park and ecological corridor with a high level of biodiversity

More space for people and nature create a pleasant environment and place to stay

With the planting of new trees and the introduction of the water, the thermal comfort in the Beatrixlaan will increase