The Gown / Archipelontwerpers

© Courtesy of

Architects: Archipelontwerpers – Eric Vreedenburgh
Location: , The Netherlands
Project team: Coen Bouwmeester, Jaap Baselmans, Arjan Mulder, Niels Groeneveld
Project year: 2005 – 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Archipelontwerpers

© Courtesy of Archipelontwerpers

The ‘Baljurk-project” (baljurk = evening-dress, ball gown) is situated in the centre of The Hague, next to the old Passage. The construction of the Passage in 1882 has transformed the urban tissue. Before this transformation there used to be a meandering transition between the two streets “Kettingstraat” and the “Achterom”, cause by the fact that the “Achterom” used to be a modest stream. This organic flow is unique in the context of The Hague’s rectangular lay-out. By consequence of the construction of the Passage this smooth transition was converted into a straight angle. The Baljurk-project is exactly placed on this corner.

situation plan
plan 04

This part of the city (like every historical part of the city) contains heterogeneous collections of different architectural styles and typologies. Quite unique (for a Calvinistic culture like the Dutch one) are the presence of some art nouveau buildings in the environment.

For the last two decades the urban opportunities of this place has not been noticed. The streets and alleys became one of the most desolate parts of the centre of The Hague: blind and armoured windows, graffiti on the historical walls and the smell of a fusion bouquet of weed and urine. In a word; this was “the backside” of the Dutch royal residence.

© Courtesy of Archipelontwerpers
© Courtesy of Archipelontwerpers

The plan for the Baljurk is a component of the integrated revitalisation of this neighbourhood. Our plan contains eight historical plots. Behind these facades we designed eight special houses, build on an elevated level. Under this level we planned shopping space.

We restored seven of the eight facades as a souvenir of the urban tissue before 1880, as a homage to the context we designed the new front. From the understanding that cities are changing continuously; we translated the once existing historical art nouveau facades into a contemporary fragment of liquid architecture.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "The Gown / Archipelontwerpers" 02 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Sandeep


    doesn’t the front facade look like Gehrys Dancing House in Prague !

    just an observation !

  • Victor Barbalato

    Thought the exact same thing!

  • pero

    mabey it looks a lil bit the same, so what? stepin that way – we shouldn’t build those white-box neo-modernistic architecture because it was already designed in japan… even if it looks similiar i still like it, wish to see buildings like this one in my country:/

  • brady

    blerg is the word that comes to mind.

  • M.

    Indeed, looks familiar…

  • up_today_arch

    I like this kind of forms… It is not Gehry style, this is the movement, and Gehry just brightest star there…

  • John

    “Urban tissue”?

    • Erik Stekelenburg

      Urban Tissue ;-)
      You’re a great thinker on public space! Give us your last name so we can read something more of your great insights.

  • damien

    nothing like gehrys, get a grip people, we look to the future building on a lineage of architecture

    • Pierre

      TOTAL Gehry rip off! Open your eyes

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