This government building, more resembling a bunker than an office, is severely cut off from the city around it. The assignment was to integrate the two and at the same time make abundantly clear that this is a green Department.
Three streets bordering on this building are each given their special link to integrate open and built-up space. At the entrance side, between a new classical colonnade and the front façade, a grassy slope introduces the green within. On the other side the restaurant pavilion is besieged by a orangery. The long south side of the Ministry faces a thoroughfare that can be vastly improved by planting a four-row lane of sycamore trees.
Welcoming employees and visitors alike, this court presents itself as an elegant piazza. It is open, stony and spacious. Two sculptured chunks of green grace the center and indicate the change of seasons. A broad stone bench marks the edges, inviting one to sit down and at the same time creating a safe barrier to the parking garage below. A groove indicating the turning circle for incoming cars is subtly carved into the pavement. Parking on the piazza is possible, but discouraged.
The middle court is an ode to nature. A small forest of Spanish chestnut trees rises up from an undergrowth of grasses in their shadow. From the pathway that connects all three courtyards, the ground gradually slopes down southward in the direction of the basement. From below the court offers an unobstructed view on the inclining forest floor. From levels above, the proximity of a leafy canopy of treetops offer a brush with nature.
Here the pathway reaches the restaurant in the orangery. It will be the most frequented open space in the building, especially on summer days. A garden layout invites to stroll around or sit down under the acacia trees that filter the sunlight. Eight consecutive levels follow a similar incline as in the forest court. Cor-Ten steel partitions coupled with hedges retain the soil. Stepping stones and steel steps provide access to this Eden.
en het Ministerie
Dam en Partners