Het Nationale Toneel, The Hague
The premises of Het Nationale Toneel (National Theatre) on Schouwburgstraat, in The Hague was due for renewal because of inadequate maintenance and shortage of space. An addition was needed. The company can now put on stage productions in its own theatre and thereby play an important role for theatre in the city and region.
The Schouwburgstraat has a different character from the parallel prestigious Lange Houtstraat or the Korte Voorhout with the Koninklijke Schouwburg – two chique streets in The Hague with monumental buildings and splendid trees. The Schouwburgstraat is much more peaceful and closed, a random assortment of buildings, recesses and the backs of the buildings of the Korte Voorhout and Lange Houtstraat, and the massive Ministry of Finance. The new Het Nationale Toneel closes and completes the street wall of the Schouwburgstraat, raising the status of this backstreet area to that of a real street.
The new building replaces the existing premises after an intensive design puzzle. The building has two cantilevered volumes: the rehearsal space on the Schouwburgstraat side, and the office that protrudes above the loading area in the direction of the Koninklijke Schouwburg. The main entrance is situated beneath the glass staircase and beside the theatre café. The openness and light that it radiates in the evening create an atmosphere of its own in the Schouwburgstraat, giving the street an urban character. The existing internal connection with the Koninklijke Schouwburg has been maintained. The auditorium, rehearsal space and offices have been set in the volume as recognisable and tangible volumes. The areas in between are the foyer and traffic areas – the heart of the building where people meet each another. Besides the theatre café and the foyer that brighten up the street in the evening, the glass tower of the building makes Het Nationale Toneel visible from the prestigious Korte Voorhout like a beacon.