Housed within the overall volume of this mega-structure is The Hague’s main public library, a council chamber, cafés, exhibition spaces, and a wedding room. A continuous, top-lit galleria runs for nearly 800 feet through the building, establishing an enclosed public realm that includes extensive small-scale retail space throughout its ground floor. The city hall provides office space on either side of galleria, while the structure itself establishes a dialogue with a concert hall, hotel, and dance theater to the southeast and a multi-use cultural center to the south, weaving these important public programs together into the heart of the city.
A monumental, cathedral-like, internal atrium forms the new res publica known as the Citizens Hall – providing an extension of the outside as well as an interior environment flooded by natural light. This mega scale is then broken up into the diverse program including retail, offices, and the main library, which is housed in a concentric semicircular plan, its dynamic form giving definition to the intersecting streets.
The soaring, cathedral-like space of the building’s central establishes a public forum that is the architectural and social heart of the building. The atrium allows the urban space surrounding the building to seamlessly continue into the interior, while aerial bridges spanning the atrium draw the building’s occupants into and across the monumental central space. These light, elegant structures are painted white steel, allowing them to appear as dematerialized screens that subdivide the large volume of the atrium into different zones.