Renovation De Resident The Hague

This chapter describes the case of 'De Resident', a city-centre renovation project in The Hague, close to the Central Station, in the period 1989-1998. Kees Rijnboutt - at that time 'Rijksbouwmeester' - played a central role in the organisation of the project. As Rijksbouwmeester he was responsible for the architectural quality of all government buildings that were built. That position gave him direct access to all cabinet ministers and provided authority to play the essential mediating role between the various parties involved. This central role was reason for the authors to interview him on the managerial aspects of the project.

The architectural aspects of this case, which are extremely interesting, have been extensively documented in the book Stadsbouwkunst: de stedelijke ruimte als architectonische opgave, Rob Krier in Den Haag: De Resident by Van Rossem (1996). For our purpose it suffices to note that the project constituted an almost unsolvable problem:

• a very high building density;

• a great and complex variety of functions;

• a mixture of offices, shops and houses;

• a tramway right through the area;

• a rich history of unresolved political discussions.

The approach of solving this 'unsolvable' problem by means of a collective design effort was new at the time. As a result of its success, the approach has also been adopted in subsequent urban development projects, such as the renovation of the centre of Amstelveen and the 'Kop van Zuid' in Rotterdam.

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