In 2003 Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten were asked to design a new complex of offices, commercial functions en up market apartments around the existing the Babylon in The Hague. When The Babylon complex was built in the nineteen seventies it stood out as a model of modern metropolitan development at that time. A quarter of a century later however the architectural ideas of that day on aspects like introvert building volumes and separated traffic flows are quite out dated. The building had become rather obsolete in its appearance.
But the structural state of Babylon was still reasonable, and demolition wasn’t desirable. So the decision was taken to retain the better part of the old structure and so to speak embrace the old building with a new volume and two towers of respectively 100 and 140 meters. These towers are going to play an eminent role in The Hague’s skyline. The New Babylon will have a magnificent presence at this city’s prominent location.
The program will increase from 44.500m2 up to 142.000m2 in total. On the first two floors one will find shops, restaurants, cafes and additional commercial functions. On the floors right above that, as far up as to the 11th floor, there will be the offices and the conference center. The towers give space to the up market rental and privately owned apartments. The ‘old’ Babylon will remain to be a combination of a hotel and offices.
As well as in the conceptual design as in detailing, inside and outside, extensive effort was taken to (re-) gain the human scale. This is visible in the detailing of the facade which has a refinement from large scale to small scale and conforms itself to the function of each volume. Within the building one can experience the spatial weaving of the office floor with the lower shopping floors. The impressive glass atrium roof enables one to also see the towers from inside the building and to feel their presence. The open character of the façades in their turn reinforce the relationship of the buildings base with the public space of the Koningin Julianaplein, the Bezuidenhoutseweg and the new Anne van Buerenplein. Thus New Babylon creates new spatial conditions in which people live, work and recreate. The synergy related to that will give an impulse and momentum to revitalize this city’s prominent location.