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SPORTCAMPUS ZUIDERPARK, THE HAGUE


33


© Scagliola Brakkee


building are available 24/7, there are no fences around it, and the building appears to have landed in the park. People can walk around it, and walk right up to the building on every side.


“I guess if it was in this country, you’d probably find the client wanted to fence the building in some shape or form,” says Davenport. “It was actually suggested at one point, but we fought quite hard against this, and avoided vandalism by making the building as robust as possible.”


A roughly oval courtyard has been carved out at the entrance of the building, accessed from the park. This is by way of a wide opening created via omitting a section of ground floor – a colonnade holds up the first floor. The ‘break out’ space is intended to provide opportunities for social gather- ing and recreation. The architect explains: “We created this courtyard very much in the heart of the park, and opened it up by raising the first floor accommodation, thereby creating a three-dimensional space. “Being open to the park, one of the big fears was that the space would become a bit of a ghetto at night, but we believed that by making it more open, it would become self policing in character, and it seems to have worked!”


ADF OCTOBER 2018


“In fact,” he continues, “we even put a basketball hoop in the space, which was a gamble in some respects.”


The locals do seem to have respected it, however: “While people do congregate there, we’ve not seen any damage or vandalism as a result of that.”


The park itself is protected againstdevel- opment, and the site boundaries had to be defined by a re-modelling of the pedestrian route. As an island with 360 degree views and access, “the scale of the project, the internal volumes and the site location, within the heart of the park, dictated a large scale building which was never going to be hidden,” says Davenport. He concludes: “From day one, the building was very much about trying to get the community to engage in the park, but also what was going on in the building. One of the main ambitions was that the building would form a catalyst for the whole local community to get involved in some shape or form, becoming aware of how they can make themselves healthier. “That was what sat behind this building, and in many ways it was fundamental to be able to get the community engaged, until they thought of it as their building.” 


UNFENCED


Being located in the centre of a park was a challenge in terms of security © Hufton+Crow


PROJECT FACTFILE: SPORTCAMPUS ZUIDERPARK


Client: Municipality of Den Haag/Hague University Architect: FaulknerBrowns Architects Area: 33,000 m2 No. of seats in main hall: 3,500 Completed: 2017


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