Light and Air
parking under water
Parking garage Laakhaven, The Hague
The public underground parking structure (1400 places) in the former harbour basin of Laakhaven is expressed as a 350-metre-long, two-storey tunnel between Rijswijkseweg and Leeghwaterplein. Although the roof of the car park is underwater the facility itself is laid out as a kind of polder. The side walls reach down to a virtually waterproof underground stratum of clay, forming with it a sealed tub. The lower parking layer, a full seven metres below mean sea level, has concrete block paving.
Because the car park is ventilated using jet fans like a real tunnel, its ceilings are streamlined. Where the car park runs below one of the wings of the Haagse Hogeschool it gains an imposing supporting structure.
The extra storey height required for this structure was used to make a slit of fenestration affording a view up from the car park of the waterfall next to the stepping-stone zebra crossing on the roof. The V-shaped columns in the parking facility act as a pragmatic structural bridging piece between the spacing of columns in the wings above and the layout of parking places below.
By providing the entire Laakhaven area with one large parking facility rather than adding a separate one for the university, there were sufficient grounds for installing round-the-clock security staff.
After parking your car, you are not conveyed directly to your internal destination by lift as is usually the case. Instead, in a move to keep the entire Laakhaven area vibrant and secure, you are first obliged to walk through part of the public open space.