A successful collaboration between the renowned law and notary firm BarentsKrants and the Amsterdam firm Hofman Dujardin Architects has resulted in a remarkable building renovation in The Hague. The building was constructed in 1950 and commands floor space of 5,200m². It was originally divided into a front building, with a majestic marble façade facing the main street, and building at the rear of the site, with two spacious atriums separating them. By the time the teams of partners, lawyers and other employees moved in to the headquarters, Hofman Dujardin Architects had created a modern, sleek and sophisticated space.
The design team opened up and linked the atriums, creating a larger, more open and transparent central area in the heart of the building, flooded with natural light. The use of materials and the positioning of furniture and internal structures create three distinct spaces within this one central area. At one end of the central area is an atrium containing the legal library area with working desks and neat, ordered, wooden shelving. At the other end is an atrium hosting a less formal space with a coffee bar, a café-style bench with high stools and a large flat-screen TV. Between them is a central block containing three floors of floating, open balconies that connect the front and rear buildings and the two atriums.
On the ground floor beneath the central block of balconies stand two eye-catching centrepieces: a beautifully calm elliptical reception desk made from light oak, and a dramatic black, cast-iron spiral staircase that snakes up all the way to the top floor. These design pieces are both practical and artistic; they immediately catch the eye and make a bold statement reflecting the professionalism of BarentsKrants. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Hofman Dujardin Architects]
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.
A good building should make you want to look at it. Even if not always liked by passers-by, it should always make them feel something. Manchester Metropolitan’s University’s business school is a building that effortlessly fits this criteria. Indeed for many, the building by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is their first taste of the architecture of Manchester as they travel along the arterial road, Mancunian Way. With its distinct ski-slope roof, and glittering mirrored appearance, it provides a flash of silver, and a dazzling break from the dull greys of the motorway, greeting motorists in a slightly space-age way as they enter the city