in the heart of the Podol district
Dutch Embassy, Ukraine
These new premises for the Dutch Embassy in the Ukraine are sited at a breach left by the Second World War in the elevation of Kontraktova Ploshcha (Contract Square) in the heart of the Podol district, one of the most ancient parts of Kiev. The building ranges four layers of offices around an atrium, a separately accessible consulate and an underground parking structure. The central position of the representative main entrance with the entrance to the consulate to its right and the car park door to its left, was inspired by the symmetrical subdivision of the facade of the original building, a 19th-century housing block with a central gateway and a smaller one to each side.
The facades are in sandstone of various shapes, sizes and finishes, with smooth-faced brick for the basement and unfinished fluted panels with deep reveals round the window openings for the upper storeys. Horizontal bands of concrete mark the transition between basement and upper storeys and terminate the facade at the top as a 'cornice'. The resulting classical tripartition corresponds with the vertical articulation of the neighbouring premises. Tempering the symmetry of the whole is the 'free' disposition of vertical windows across the facade. The curve of the front facade is a response to the recently rebuilt church in the middle of the square. At the rear the building shape steps back to allow daylight into the central atrium from the side.