The Transvaal Neighbourhood in The Hague is a typical working-class district. It borders on Hoefkade, a lively city street which, together with the street market, forms an important component of the neighbourhood. The Transvaal Neighbourhood has deteriorated economically in recent decades: many residents with sufficient resources have moved away to a new Vinex development, leaving a preponderance of low-income families including many immigrant minorities.
The district, built in the early twentieth century, is characterized by a homogenous pattern of parallel streets and perimeter blocks with little public open space. Our plan comprises several different types, including both rental sector and owner-occupied sector units: compact apartments, large family dwellings and housing for handicapped persons and the elderly in a residential care centre. The middle block of the three, the residential care centre, retreats from the building line so creating space for a plaza with playground amenities. Combined home/work units and a supermarket are situated on the market side of the area. The recessed entrances to the housing blocks create a transition between the private and public domains, thereby enhancing liveliness and public safety in the street. The housing blocks look like a single entity, but our use of architectural details such as alcoves and brickwork relief (following the example of the existing blocks) preserves the visual rhythm of the individual dwellings.
The Hague NL
With niches, steps and facade planes, this project creates a lively transition between building and city. The rhythm and repetition of small differences characteristic of the long streets in the Transvaalbuurt district give a new impetus to the area.