Belgian Embassy, office transformation

Transformation
An urban villa building from the 1990s has been transformed into a chancellery for the Belgian Embassy in the Netherlands. The chancellery is not merely an emblem of the Embassy but an office with a public function. How does the country view itself through its history, especially in relation to the Netherlands?

The structure of the office is based on the management style and the communications structure of the organization. In principle, it presents a low threshold to visitors and is only latently hierarchical. The Embassy needed a multi-roomed structure that accorded with this principle. The need for flexibility was also relevant, and resulted in among other things a multifunctional conference room which can be connected to the restaurant, when required, making it suitable for receptions.
Security was another important consideration. The waiting room is marked on the one hand by openness, transparency and representation, and on the other by privacy and security. These normally contradictory qualities are united in a single design. The positions of the working rooms of the Ambassador and senior diplomats, as well as the archives and the code room (a Faraday cage) were subject to special security standards. These had a crucial effect on the design.
A chancellery has both expatriate staff members, who move on after about four years, and local staff who typically stay for many years. A pleasant working environment is above all essential to the latter group. Daylight, ventilation, temperature control and acoustics were important considerations in the design.

The detailing embodies subtle references to Belgium’s different language cultures, those of Wallonia, Flanders and German-speaking Belgium.

Colofon

Den Haag, NL, 2012-2013
Highlights, Interior Design, Public Buildings, Transformation

brief
transformation of an urban villa for the Belgian Embassy, The Hague

client
Belgian Embassy, The Hague

architect
Marlies Rohmer Architects & Urbanists

design
Marlies Rohmer

team
Martin Koster
Maike Daemen

contractor
Schouten B.V., Leidschendam

advisor
E&B engineering en bouwbegeleiding B.V., Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel

graphic design
Yvonne Kroese, Amsterdam

photography
Thea van den Heuvel Fotografie / DAPh

design
2012

completed
2013

area 
GFA: 2013 m²

 
 

Copyright Marlies Rohmer Architects & Urbanists