Dance and Music CentreEdit profile
The Dance and Music Center in The Hague presents a significant opportunity to improve the civic and social quality of both its city as well as the facilities it houses. The location of the project is right on an important, albeit underutilized urban square – the Spuiplein. This raises concerns of how to improve activity of this urban room as well as knit and transition the public realm within the Center. The facility itself contains its own range of uses from the semi-public components of retail and box office facilities, transitioning to the performance venue foyers and finally to the five venues themselves. Adding even more richness to the program is that the center also houses semi-private facilities for the highly respected resident orchestra (Residentie Orkest) and the highly regarded professional dance company (Nederlands Dans Theater). Further infused into this mixture is the Royal Conservatory, which itself contains four individual schools (three focused on music and the other on dance). The design weaves a semi-public path through the entire facility revealing the inner workings of what goes into these performances as well as how these artists develop. It is not only about the venues but also the studios, rehearsal rooms, classrooms and even the lounges. The students intertwine with the professionals, which on one level appears to be completely supportive, but in another instance appears like a “battle` on the street. The professional’s in their studios in a duel across the atrium from the respective studios of the students. With a limited site area in comparison to the requirements, facilities need to stack on top of each other. The vitality of the center is interdependent with how the public and semi-public components of the project engage the facility. These three zones become the major organizational and focal volumes in the project. The Lower Square is as much a extension of the Spuiplein as it is the main entrance into the DMC. The building has been carved out allowing square to extend its length into this space underneath the protected cover. Layers of activities are located at ground level to enliven the space, including an internet café, a coffee shop, the box-office, the dance store as well as the non-ticketed foyer. Although external, this space becomes one of the major rooms of the project. The vertical layers are reinforced by other activity generators such as “mini-stages`, a restaurant, a library and the public entrance to the Conservatory as well as the foyers for both the 1000 and 350 person theatres, which face onto each of the two faces of the square. At the highest level, the “front door` of The Conservatory is located along with the library and the restaurant. The public can arrive either by escalator or lifts to this platform above the public realm below. The primary floor of the School of Young Talent was located here as a place where parents can drop off their children and have a convenient place to relax while waiting. Next to the school’s entrance, “jazz studios` are placed, being able to open up to the restaurant, allowing patrons to enjoy a meal and be treated to performance by the students of the Conservatory. A large digital monitor is located on the eastern face of the building visible from the Spuiplein and beyond. The Lower Square itself can convert into a performance area or even an outdoor cinema. The Middle Foyer is 45 meters above the Spuiplein and sits on top of top of the “table` with the majority of the project area contained below. The majority of the public would arrive to this zone through direct escalator system, expressed externally, from the open space of the Lower Square. This is where remaining three venues are presented formally as individual elements. The largest hall, the 1500 person Concert Hall is the focal element within the space gesturing toward the Spuiplien. Other major music venue, 500 seat Recital Hall gestures back and defines the other edge of halls shared foyer. Across the atrium, rests the smallest - the 100 seat Studio 1, that anchors the Conservatory on this public level. On the higher level blocks are interconnected, containing volumes of the conservatory’s classrooms. In the mass of the building below, another layer of function is contained. This is the home for the Professional Dance Companies and their studios located on two levels. The Conservatory’s dance studios are located opposite on the western edge of the atrium. All studios are expressed outwardly as large clear glass bay windows allowing audiences to look into and to allow the dancers to look out. In addition, this area contains all of the business components of the professional groups, the back of house facilities for the venues and the remaining components of the Conservatory. The mass is filled with studios, practice and rehearsal rooms that are more acoustically controlled with windows minimized but still visually expressed through smaller vertical slots of windows. The Upper Green - floating above all of this, is the final semi-public knit to the project. Accessible from four different and zones, the landscaped roof can be used by all patrons and residents of the DMC. This wood decking, landscaped plane, contains zones of green and a cluster of trees, slopes down for the highest point in the southeast corner of the site to its lowest point 48 meters above the Spuiplien at the northwest corner of the site. At 65 meters in height, this level is inside of urban design aspirations within its height restrictions – yet providing views over the city hall to the sea beyond. These three stratifications of public exposure intermixed with the five performance venues and then combined with the inner workings of the Resident Orchestra, the Nederland Dance Theater and the Royal Conservatory offers a unique opportunity of providing a facility which is diverse, exciting and inspirational for its residents, whether professional or in training, and with the centers visiting guest artists and patrons.