After more than five years’ incubation, our project for a hotel and shopping center in The Hague evolved with the developer’s economic constraint
s. As the site became increasingly smaller and the program
became less ambitious, the architectural imperative also became more specialized: to create a new urban passage, comparable to the historic Hague Passage to the north, as well as the great passages throughout Europe. We wanted to approach the project as a building that was incontrovertibly Dutch, but also had an international flavor—a combination in keeping with the role of The Hague among other European cities.
The “passage” has a great tradition with a variety of spatial configurations. Passageways are not identical: their ceiling heights, colors, openness, and pedestrian traffic all vary. They can be wide or tight. There is no homogenous configuration (in marked contrast with the 20th-century enclosed shopping mall, whose typology is similar, no matter where on the globe you are located).