preserve old living environment
Katerstraat, The Hague
The Katerstraat operation was not a politically managed intervention to sacrifice a thoroughly run-down area for a major traffic corridor, as was long the intention, but instead gave that area back its age-old function. Katerstraat and Oog in 't Zeilstraat are two of the quartet of side streets between arcing Paviljoensgracht and dead-straight Boekhorststraat which were laid out at the onset of the 17th century when the circuit of canals round The Hague was closed.
Whereas Oog in 't Zeilstraat could be sutured on a property-by-property basis the older Katerstraat was supplanted in its entirety with geometrical precision by two pedestrian streets that meet halfway at an intimate clearing. Looking along this clearing, the perspective broadens both in width and height so that this brightly lit meeting point is experienced as much more expansive than it really is.
Buildings on sharp and blunt street corners are distinguished between in terms of function and design. Semicircular windows in the tops of the facades echo the rounded roofs beyond. Squares of glass block in the slightly elevated street surface flood with light the underground passage between the parking areas and storage spaces. This project demonstrates that such made-to-measure 'Stadtreparatur' can work in The Hague, without the need to fall back on olde-worlde retro style.
Awards and nominations:
- Exemplary project Stadsvernieuwing als Culturele Activiteit 1987
- Atelier PRO, 'Katerstraat, The Hague, the Netherlands. Urban renewal of twin streets', Indian Architect & Builder (1998), p 105-108
- Boidi, S., 'Con il cuore in piazzza', Construire, nr 69 (1998), p108-110