Project information

  • Location

    The Hague

  • Project completion


  • Building surface

    66.000 m2

  • Client

    Rijksvastgoedbedrijf Ministerie van Financiën

Embracing the urban context

In order to transform Jo Vegter and Mart Bolten’s austere concrete monument into a lively new element in the urban landscape, we added a strong measure of transparency. A glass façade wraps the concrete structure, with silvery olive trees rather than sheer walls now on view to passers-by. The cut-away entrance makes the building more approachable and less formal in appearance, effectively giving it a new heart. All this was achieved while preserving the original structure, which is one of the best examples of Brutalism in the Netherlands.

017 oud Financien 0504-18_HiRes.jpg
Old situation
001 mifi_pano_dec3nab.jpg
New situation
019 oud Financien 0504-07-2.jpg
Old situation
0016 0 web 7 CF021182nab.jpg
New situation
018 oud DSC00465.jpg
Old situation
008 september 2008 022nab.jpg
New situation

Open to the public

The original building contained two courtyard gardens. We turned one of the two into a public space, which is accessible via two welcoming entrances. We covered the second courtyard with a glass roof, creating an atrium where the ministry’s staff and visitors can meet and mingle. The gardens have been landscaped and planted with tamarind trees and orchids. Green elements including palm gardens are included in the building’s upper storeys too, creating an inspirational environment for workers. Enhancing the building’s function as a city landmark, we also added a winter garden at the corner of the Korte Voorhout and Prinsessegracht, where silvery olive trees now grow in a two-storey high glass space.

  1. Elevation
Group 9 Group 9

Energy gains

The glass façade that softens the harsh Brutalist lines of the ministry is not only aesthetic. It also acts as a climatic and acoustic buffer zone, contributing to the overall sustainability of the building. The façade also improves ventilation, helps control condensation and prevent cold draughts. The renovated structure makes huge energy savings thanks to the use of thermal energy storage together with a ceiling cooling system. As a result of all these interventions, the building’s energy performance coefficient (EPC) is 0.89 – way below the required 1.40.


PPP first

This commission gained our office important experience in working with a new contract form. This was the first time that the Dutch government had put one of its office buildings out to tender in the form of a Public-Private Partnership. This pilot scheme encompassed design, build, finance, maintenance and operations. A project analysis later showed that a saving of 15% was achieved in comparison with conventional tendering.

009 CF012613nab.jpg

Flexible interior

We were careful to preserve the interior’s Brutalist character, showcasing the rough concrete surfaces with their wooden formwork motifs and the visible load-bearing structure of the building. With an eye on the building’s future sustainability, we focused on flexibility, so that changes in layout and use are easy to implement. Walls can be moved without opening up ceilings, and raised floors allow for a simplified data infrastructure. The renovated office space accommodates 1,750 employees, over seven floors: two below ground, including parking and sport facilities, and five above ground, with meeting rooms, a library, offices and a restaurant. In total, the building now provides 66,000 m2 of floor space.

  1. Meeting room atrium
Group 9 Group 9

Our prizewinning renovation transforms an inward-looking building into an expansive monument embracing the urban environment


Ministry of Finance , The Hague


    Korte Voorhout 7, The Hague


    Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, Ministerie van Financiën, Safire BV


    MVSA Architects, DEGW Amsterdam/Londen (Interior), Michael R. van Gessel, Amsterdam (Landscape)


    Safire BV


    Arup BV, Strukton Engineering


    Arup BV, Peutz, Cofely Nederland N.V., Burgers Ergon BV

  • BVO

    66.000 m2


    Offices, Public





Accept all

We use cookies to improve your experience and personalise the content and ads you see. By selecting ‘accept all’, you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more please read our Privacy policy. You can manage the cookies used for you here.

Accept All Cookies