The new seat of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, designed by Dutch studio KAAN Architecten , winner of an international design competition announced in 2012, was completed recently.
Built on Korte Voorhout, an important route connecting a number of institutions with Parliament, near Malieveld Park, the new Supreme Court is in the historic centre of The Hague and acts as a gateway to the city. Its glass façades interact with the trees beside the road and the transparency of the construction is a symbolic reference to fair judgement.
One of the biggest challenges in the project was putting together the various internal routes in a way which prevents visual contact between different categories of users (the public, the judges, the accused, the sentenced, etc.).
Six bronze statues of Dutch legal scholars on pedestals add a note of solemnity to the main entrance. On the upper floors there are offices, meeting rooms, a library, a restaurant and the council chambers. The architects used different colours of coverings to differentiate between the two main parts of the construction: the Upper Council of Magistrates (Raad) and the Procurator General Office (Parket).
Natural light illuminates the spaces from above through skylights corresponding to the vertical links in the building. The two-storey high foyer is the main public space, leading to the two courtrooms and the press room.
This large space contains the painting “Hoge Raad” by artist Helen Verhoeven, commissioned specifically for the Supreme Court, portraying real and symbolic characters referring to the history of the Dutch legal system and constitution.
Architect: KAAN Architecten (Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio)
Design team: Allard Assies, Luca Baialardo, Christophe Banderier, Bas Barendse, Dennis Bruijn, Timo Cardol, Sebastian van Damme, Marten Dashorst, Luuk Dietz, Willemijn van Donselaar, Paolo Faleschini, Raluca Firicel, Michael Geensen, Cristina Gonzalo Cuairán, Joost Harteveld, Walter Hoogerwerf, Michiel van der Horst, Marlon Jonkers, Jan Teunis ten Kate, Marco Lanna, Giuseppe Mazzaglia, Ana Rivero Esteban, Joeri Spijkers, Koen van Tienen, Noëmi Vos.
Artwork: “Hoge Raad” (oil on canvas, 400 x 647 cm, 2015) by Helen Verhoeven
Location: Korte Voorhout 8, The Hague (The Netherlands)
Images courtesy of KAAN Architecten, photo by Sebastian van Damme and Johannes Schwartz (Helen Verhoeven's installation)