Waldorp Four

The Hague’s oldest industrial strip reborn as a dynamic residential neighbourhood
  • housing
    housing

It’s happening the world over: the transformation of old industrial sites into vibrant and creatively stimulating urban neighbourhoods. And it’s happening in The Hague, too, where a strip known as the Laakhaven is soon to be reborn as a pleasant and dynamic residential neighbourhood. The Waldorpstraat, specifically, once synonymous with street prostitution, will begin its new life as a safe and lively boulevard, lined with shops, restaurants and creative workspaces, and four residential towers sheathed in glass named The Waldorp Four. The towers will offer a combined total of 800 apartments on a single, almost 300-meter-long stretch of road, and give this part of the city a significant boost. Paul de Ruiter Architects were commissioned to design these future icons.

Waldorp 0

From student accommodation to penthouses

In September 2018, one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in The Hague (covering approximately 70,000 m2of ground) will commence on the narrow stretch of land between Den Haag Hollands Spoor station and Laakhaven-West. This is where our clean-lined designs for the four residential buildings named The Waldorp Four will take physical shape: three tower blocks rising 77 metres above ground, and a shorter apartment block standing 44 metres high.

The apartments have been conceived to meet a variety of accommodation needs, and will include everything from affordable student rentals and starter homes to exclusive penthouses with sweeping views of The Hague.

The old industrial area will have a completely new character and look very inviting

Desirably liveable

The four towers will rise from a horizontal plinth whose length and design will largely determine the street’s character. The plinth’s façade will be of glass and plant-covered wooden slats, lending it an inviting and environmentally friendly appearance.

The three towers will comprise 22 storeys apiece, each accommodating eight apartments measuring 50m2to 70m2. However, the topmost storey of the first two towers will depart from this format, and consist instead of four large penthouses. The fourth building, the 44-metre-high block, will comprise 12 storeys, each accommodating 18 small apartments measuring between 20m2and 50m2. Bike and car parking facilities will be integrated into the lower floors but concealed behind the façade and the 3,000m2of commercial space provided for the accommodation of the sort of businesses required by Waldorp Four residents, such as a bicycle repair shop, a bakery and restaurants.

The four towers will be linked by three four-storey blocks offering a mix of workspaces and apartments. The transparency of the buildings’ glass skin and the way the buildings open directly onto the street will create a direct link between life inside and outside the complex, thus contributing to the vibrancy of life in the shops, restaurants, diners and studios that line the boulevard. The effect will give this tricky site, wedged as it is between the train tracks and a busy road, a completely new character while lending it the inviting atmosphere familiar to long-time residents of The Hague.

Waldorp Slider 0 0
Waldorp Slider 0 1
Floor-to-ceiling walls ensure sweeping views of the city and sea beyond

Reassuringly sustainable and beautifully transparent

The buildings are designed to meet very high standards of sustainability, a measure that calls for an efficient use of energy. Such an objective has implications for the choice of material. Consequently, apartments will be given floor-to-ceiling glass walls — which together will constitute the buildings’ entire front and rear façades — to ensure that each enjoys as much daylight as possible, thus minimising energy consumption for lighting. From an experiential perspective, these walls will also afford residents the most breathtaking views of the sea and the city, while the transparency of the buildings’ skin will allow life indoors to enhance the vibrancy of the street.

The glass employed for these walls was chosen to meet the highest standards of insulation, thus preventing temperature fluctuations and blocking potential noise pollution. The acoustics of each apartment will be tailored to an ideal range for residential accommodation by the use of thick concrete floors and walls, premium quality insulation in the floors, and semi-open loggias that also ensure an optimal degree of natural ventilation.

The sides of the towers are designed to be largely opaque, and will be sheathed in black solar cells positioned between the vertical aluminium slats that will run from the top of the towers to the bottom. This will lend the buildings a markedly slender profile and help them establish a powerfully striking presence within the context of the city’s urban development. Communal rooftop gardens by landscape architects ZUS will overlook the railway lines. These gardens are designed to be oases of green, and will feature lots of dense shrubbery, spectacular hanging trees, and vine-covered pergolas – ideal spots for residents to relax in and meet their neighbours. These “Hanging Gardens” are the first of their kind, and as a result have been named pilot projects by the municipality.

Waldorp 2
The Waldorp Four towers achieve the highest EPC rating and operate entirely gas-free

The apartments are equipped with a CERA ventilation system to ensure a constant and comfortable room temperature. This system gives each apartment its own control unit, so that fresh or heated air is evenly distributed within. The system is to be further complemented by a specially developed central heat recovery unit on the roof. This unit requires 50% less energy for its operation than conventional, individual HRV systems. In addition, the sides of the towers and all of the roofs will be equipped with solar cells. All of which ensures that the towers achieve the highest EPC rating, and operate entirely gas-free.

The combination of the abundance of vegetation afforded by the gardens and the buildings’ façades and sedum roofs not only makes the outdoor experience of the complex a pleasant one for residents, but also contributes to the diversity of insects and birds in this part of the city.

The towers are primarily designed for residential use. However, their layout is exceptionally flexible, thus offering tenants the possibility of combining multiple apartments into single large ones, or into offices if so desired.