International Criminal Court, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the Hague, green cladding, transparency, ICC, the netherlands

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won the international design competition to design the permanent ICC complex back in 2010. They have since been working with the organization, The Hague and the surrounding communities to design a facility that best met the court’s needs. Located in between the dunes by the sea and the city, the complex seeks to bridge the gap between nature and the urban environment and features a wide variety of landscaping and natural elements. Six volumes with a small footprint rise up from a dune landscape and the tallest of these, the Court Tower, is a green element featuring a scaffolding of integrated living cladding. The other buildings feature a custom-made facade system designed of a composite material known in the aviation and wind turbine industry.

The design of the 54,500-square-meter ICC was inspired by the court’s ideals, which are expressed through transparency and openness. Rather than some dark, closed-off block, the ICC is open, airy, daylit and filled with plants. Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s design, which is aiming for BREEAM Excellent, expresses both authority and accessibility. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 16th, 2013 and construction is expected to be complete by the summer of 2015.

“To the victims, to their families and to the world, the ICC premises must communicate respect, trust and hope. Therefore, this building cannot be anonymous; it must have the courage to express the values and the credibility of the ICC,” explained Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects creative director Bjarne Hammer. “As a consequence, the groundbreaking marks the transformation of the values of the ICC into physical reality.”

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