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Palaces Without A People: A Post-National Forum

Naina Gupta

The siting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague,

in the Netherlands transformed the urban fabric and its relationship
with the region and across Europe. Two projects, the New Centre and
the International Zone are urban projects that are currently being
developed in the city. The research contends that both these projects
are rooted in the same condition. As the city is increasingly becoming international in its composition, traditional ideas of a civic forum
that were staged in the centre are now symbolic and redundant. This
transforms the centre to a generic site with an ambition to increase
density (floor area) and the creation of an enclave for the international
industry that is assumed to have no relationship with the existing city.
Through an analysis of the NGOs, because of their malleable jurisdiction and intimate relationship with the ICC, the research proposes
that they create a new constituency in the city that bridges across the
multi-scalar political system and potentially can generate an alternative type of forum in the city a post-national forum.
Research Question: What is a post-national forum? Who are the public of
the forum? How does the forum create a relationship between national and
international institutions?
Urban Question: How do NGOs transform the organisational and structural diagram of the ICC? How can they be organised in the city to create
relationship between the ICC and other political institutions?
Typological Question: What is the role of architecture in creating an adversarial forum between autonomous NGOs? How must the multi-tenant office
space that is suggested as a form for grouping NGOs by the city be transformed to create a forum?

Rendering by Hammer Larsen Schmitt, a Danish architectural

practice for the new building for the International Criminal Court
currently being built in The Hague

Architectural Association School of Architecture

Programme: Projective Cities (Taught MPhil
in Architecture and Urban Design)
Student Name: Naina Gupta
Project title: Palaces Without A People: A
Post-National Forum
Submission Title: Dissertation

Course Tutor: Dr. Sam Jacoby

Dr. Adrian Lahoud

Submission Date: 19.06.2015

Note: The total number of words of the main

dissertation body text excluding the essays in
the appendix, footnotes, captions in drawings, the abstract and the narrative timeline
and bibliography is approximately 12960

I certify that this piece of work is entirely
my/our own and that any quotation or paraphrase from the published or unpublished
work of others is duly acknowledged.
Signature of Student:

Date: 19.06.2015

Palaces Without A People: A Post-National Forum

Strategies: The Transnational Centre and the International Zone


The Court: A Space of Jurisprudence?


The Forum: Organisational Forms


The Post-Civic Condition: Civic 2.0


Appendix 76

Palaces Without a People:

A Post-National Forum
This continuous mega-structural galleria, 800 by 250 feet, effectively establishes The
Hagues new city center, together with a concert hall, hotel, and dance theater to the southeast and a multiuse cultural center to the south.
Richard Meier and Partners Architects project description of the town hall in The Hague

Meiers scheme, as low as possible at 14 stories, and introducing the atrium that cornerstone of American urbanism as a symbol of civitas, was chosen
Rem Koolhaas about the town hall designed by Richard Meier in The Hague1

Carel Weeber titled his 1977 master

plan for the new centre in The Hague,
the Den Haag Forum. The plan was
designed around typical architectural
institutions associated with civic life:
the town hall, the church and a theatre.
It is traditionally assumed that these
institutions stage the city centre as a
civic space and generate a forum. In
reality an urban analysis of the new
centre in The Hague, in the Netherlands
proves that the urban staging of these
institutions in the contemporary context
of this city is quaint and a nostalgic
gesture. The New Centre has undergone

three definitions in the last six decades:

national administrative centre, civic
centre and recently as a generic city
block with a mandate to increase floor
area. The recent plan of the new centre
owes its transformations to the influx of
intergovernmental organisations (IGOs)
that has changed the composition of
the city and its relationship with the
region, the country and internationally.
The New Centre and its forum do not
respond to the current redefinition of
the city as a centre of international law.
Using the International Criminal Court
(ICC) as an example the research aims to

Drawing of the masterplan by Carel Weeber showing traditional civic institutions that define the site as a forum

unveil the transformations that the city

has undergone since its introduction
in the city and argues that though the
institution does not have a traditional
civic function it creates a constituency
that offers an opportunity to define what
a forum in a contemporary international
city could be. To differentiate it from the
traditional forum this research is going
to define a forum generated around
international organisations as a postnational forum.
What is a post-national forum? Who are
the public of the forum? How does the forum
create a relationship between national and
international institutions?
The Hague offers an interesting
perspective of a multi-scalar
political system. Historically it is
the administrative centre of the
country but not its capital and it has
a powerful local administration and
is the capital city of South Holland.
This existing dual political scale is
amplified by the inclusion of European
and international organisations in
the city. The systems - local, national,
European and international - are laid
as disconnected fragments across the
urban landscape appearing autonomous
and disconnected, but it is very evident
in the way that they function that
they are different components of a
single political order. Along with the
redefinition of the New Centre, the city

The Citys Living Room - Richard Meiers atrium in the town hall boasts of being the largest in the Netherlands

is also planning a structural vision for

an International Zone - a suburb to the
main city fabric. The international zone
is an urban project that retroactively
attempts to cluster IGOs with embassies,
research institutes, headquarters
of multinational corporations and
nongovernmental organisations (NGOs),
into a single urban definition and create
a tailor-made environment for them that
it defines through urban security. The
international zone as an urban project
originated with the decision of the city
to site the permanent premises of the
ICC on a military land North of the city
centre near the coast.
The ICC is used as an exemplary
institution in this research because
it is part of an existing dispersed
international legal system

International Court of Justice,

European Court of Human Rights,
International Criminal Tribunal of
Yugoslavia, and International Criminal
Tribunal of Rwanda to mention a few.
It is autonomous from the United
Nations (UN). The ICC as an institution
is young. It was ratified in 1998, and
as a contemporary institute it rests
between historical architectural legacies
and projective urban policies that are
currently being planned for it. It is a
hybrid of two architectural legacies the
IGO type2 and the law court building
type. These two legacies determine
the urban setting, representation, and
spatial organisation of the institution.
The research contends that the
current design of the institution is
only a selective interpretation of these
legacies, one that deliberately neglects

the constituency that is created by

the institution. This constituency,
predominantly composed of NGOs
changes the way that the institution
functions and the relationship that it
has with the city and complicates other
design parameters like property rights,
security, jurisdiction and representation.
NGOs have proven to be an important
source of employment in the city.
Statistics show that though they only
contribute to 13% of the employment
generated by international organisations
but compared to the international
organisations in the city they employ a
large percentage of the local population.
The number of NGOs in the city has
increased by 84% since the hosting
of the ICC in The Hague. Though it
is common to associate NGOs with

international zone

city centre

1 Carnegie
Plein Cluster
forum Cluster
2 World
World Forum
3 Alexander Kazerne


The urban plan of The Hague showing the two projects generated by the introduction of the ICC in the city with a detail of the different clusters of the international zone







Institution: Permanent Court of Arbitration

Permanent Court of Arbitration
Cluster: CarnegiePlein
1895Permanent Court of Arbitration
Ratified: 1895
Architect: Louis
Architect: Louis
Architect: Louis Codonnier

Institution: International Criminal Tribunal for

Institution: International Criminal Tribunal for
Ratified: 1993
Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia
Cluster: World
1993 Forum
1953 Van der Steur

Institution: Organisation of Prohibition of

Organisation of Prohibition of
Ratified: 1997
of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Cluster: World
Ratified: 1997
Cluster: World
McKinnell and Knowles
Constructed: 2000
Architect: Kellmann










Institution: Europol
1998 Forum
Cluster: World2011
Wintermans Architects
Architect: Quist Wintermans Architects

Criminal Court
Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
2015 HammerSchmitt
Architect: Larsen
Architect: Larsen Hammer Schmitt Architects

Surveying the intergovernmental organisations in the city

Institution: Eurojust
Cluster: World
Architect: Mecanoo Architects

0 10




Supreme Court


The atrium of the Town Hall

Atrium of the townhall

The courtyard of the Parliament

Courtyard of the Parliament

Civic institutions in the city and their public thresholds

The salle des pas perdues of the Supreme Court

Salle des pas perdues of the Supreme Court


IGOs, they precede them, by a century,

and were called private international
As Michel Feher states, they are
generated at all scales of governmental
systems. As an example, Amnesty
International is an international
NGO, it has a national division called
Amnesty International Netherlands and
a representative body for international
justice at the ICC in The Hague these divisions and bodies allow it to
slip between jurisdictions and issues,
bridging different scales of political
institutions. Due to their malleable
jurisdiction, their association with the
ICC, and their intimate relationship
with the city, NGOs can be considered a
natural complement to the multi-scalar
political order that is seen in the city
and a suitable composition for a postnational forum.4
How do NGOs transform the organisational
and structural diagram of the ICC? How
can they be organised in the city to create
relationship between the ICC and other
political institutions?
NGOs as private organisations rely
on public and philanthropist funding
for the work that they do. They are
extremely wary of their associations with
other organisations and corporations,
including other NGOs because these
associations can prove to be detrimental
to their ability to find funding. As
acknowledged economic agents by the
city, The Hague, has been designing
multi-tenant office spaces for them.
These buildings are interiorised and
have no relationship with the city. They
are purely functional spaces that group
similar types of organisation without an

1. Hotel
2.Dance theatre
3.University of Law
4.Ministry of Justice and Security
5.De Resident: Commercial development
6.Town Hall
7.Government Building Agency
A. Den Haag Centraal Station
B. Church

A detail of the urban project called the New Centre within the city centre

understanding of the nuances of their

relationship with each other and other
institutions in the city. As a form, multitenant office buildings are antithetical
to the fundamental premise of a forum,
which by definition is an adversarial
space that allows negotiations and
confrontations between different
points of view. Urban organisational
strategies like organisation of a group
form and the architectural experiments
in the design of the theatre and in
performance art provide an alternate
interpretation of how urban design
and architecture can create a space of
confrontation and negotiation between
autonomous private agents, like NGOs
and the way that they can be organised
in relation to different political

Rather than good intentions, limited ambitions, or insufficient means, what distinguishes the
various politics of the governed [referring to NGOs] as such is that they are all predicated
on the intolerance of the effects of a particular set of governmental practices - regardless of
whether the governing agency responsible for these practices is the state, an international
organisation, a public institution or a private corporation.
Michel Feher.

How must the multi-tenant office space

be transformed to create a forum? What
is the role of architecture in creating an
adversarial forum between autonomous
0 10



Using the New Centre as a site and

through specific institutions - the ICC,
the Ministry of Justice and the town
hall - the research attempts to unfold
the role of architecture and urban
design in creating a post-national forum
across different political institutions.
The design explores different meanings
of the term adversarial in urban and
architectural form: Who owns the space?
How do the institutions retain their
autonomy? How are the organisations
represented? How are boundaries
created within the space between the
different organisations? How does it

choreograph multiple encounters?

How does it transform that city and
its relationship with the region and
The research is structured in three
parts: Strategies, The Court and The Forum.
Each of these sections discusses a specific scale of research along with design
suggestions pertinent to that particular

Section End Notes

1 Rem Koolhaas, Dirty Realism: A Mini-Farce, S,M,L,XL,
(Monacelli press, 1995) pg. 571
2 In the appendix one can find an essay that I have written
that discusses the evolution of the IGO type titled From
Palaces to Headquarters: Le Corbusier and the evolution
of the IGO Type
3 Thomas Davies, Introduction, NGOs: A History of Transnational Civil Society, (Oxford University Press, 2014)
4 NGOs are non-representational organisations and I
consider them a natural complement to a political order
that is quasi-representational. Any political system that is
created by IGOs is quasi-representational.

Strategies trace the urban plans and

studies generated by the city since the
siting of the ICC in The Hague. There
were two distinct trajectories that the
city embarked on, the creation of a
transnational centre and the international zone. Both these trajectories attempt to define the relationship between
the city and the ICC, and they use the
institution as a way to renew parts of
the city but neither suggests a way that
the ICC can create an urban function.
This section attempts to create an urban
strategy for the institution that allows it
a potential urban role in the city and the
generation of a forum.
The Court focuses on the ICC as an
institution and the precedents that
determined its architecture and the way
that it is planned in the city. This section
attempts to restructure the organisational diagram of the court suggesting
that the constituency (NGOs) that it has
generated gives it an alternative role as a
space of jurisprudence where the protocols of international law are created
and debated. This interpretation of the
court allows it to be staged differently
within the city.
Through specific example of NGOs that
work in The Hague, The Forum discusses
their role in advocacy and dissemination of knowledge, setting up the need
for a post-national forum in the city.
It criticises the design of multi-tenant
office spaces and suggests an alternative
urban-architectural form to create the
adversarial forum.

Spuikwartier 1964

Ministry buildings 1962 - 2002 Lucas and Niemeyer architects

Black Madonna by architect Carel Weeber (model )

The above picture is taken in 1964. This is during the first

phase of its development from 1945 - 1977 when the project was
called Spuikwartier. the ambition for the area was an administrative district for the country.

Though this project amounted to nothing, one of the private

buildings designed by the architectural practice of Lucas and
Niemeyer was realised. This became the home for the Ministry
of Justice and the Ministry of Internal affairs till 2010. Today
the building is up for renovation with a mixed programme
including a university campus.

The success of the architecture of the two buildings within the

masterplan shifted the focus of the project from urban design
to architecture. Richard Meier (City hall), OMA (Netherlands,
Dance Theatre), Michael Graves, Ceasar Pelli (De Resident)
amongst many others all have buildings within this strip.

Master-plan proposal W.M. Dudok 1945

De Nieuw Hout proposal 1974

Buildings of De Resident by Michael Graves and Ceasar Pelli

The first masterplan was proposed by W.M. Dudok in 1945.

The area was seen as a formal administrative centre of the
country. The plan was not implemented because post-war this
sort of design was seen as too expensive a way to be spending
public money.

De Nieuw Hout, is one the last proposals that was made during
this period. It is reminiscent of the sentiment that is used in the
design of the centre in Rotterdam. Though it was not realised
it shifted the focus of the planners from an formal administrative district to a civic centre and set up the stage for the plan by
Carel Weeber.

Though the site appeared to be complete in 2002, city officials

felt that it was missing the image of a world class city centre.
Basically It lacked an imposing skyline. The quest for the image
of the city centre led to the third phase of its development as
the Wijnhaven Kwartier based on a plan by Richard Meier.
The Southern strip of the site from the Black Madonna till the
Netherlands Dance Theatre were meant to be demolished and
redesigned as towers.

Administration Centre proposal Pier Luigi Nervi 1962

Master-plan Carel Weeber 1977

Wijnhaven Kwartier vision by Richard Meier 2002

In 1962, the ministry of spatial planning decided to develop the

area as a public-private partnership, where the public would
provide the infrastructure and the buildings would be designed
and built by private development

The masterplan by Carel Weeber began a second phase this

was called the Den Haag Forum from 1977 - 2002. The plan
was a pedestrianised centre that was framed by two buildings
by the architect. The Black Madonna - and a hotel at either end
of the site

Today the project is called the new centre and its ambition is
regional and European connectivity.

Narrative timeline tracing the urban transformation from the administrative centre to the Den Haag Forum which concludes toady as the new centre

Government Offices

Social Housing

Government Building Agency

external atrium/tunnel connecting the site to the station
Architect: Jan Hoogstad

Ministry of Justice
Architect: Hans Kollhoff



Architect: Rob Krier

Old ministry towers - currently being reprogrammed

Architect: Lucas and Neymer

The New Centre today - a site of generic programme, and interiorised architecture by world renowned architects

High end apartments


De Resident Commercial development

Architect: Rob Krier et al

Inner fabric of the new centre



Netherlands Dance Theatre

Architect: Rem Koolhaas

Town Hall
Architect: Richard Meier


An birds eye view of the new centre in The Hague dated 2007

the transnational centre and
international zone
Maarten Schmitt was appointed the
city architect of The Hague in 1998,
the same year that the International
Criminal Court (ICC) was ratified by
the Rome Statute. From an analysis of
the numerous urban studies that he
commissioned it is fair to assume that
the ICC was critical in the way that he

reframed the vision for the city. The

urban studies can be divided into two
distinct periods, the first from 1998-2007
where the institution was an instrument
he used to create a transnational
political centre in the city and the
second from 2007, when he reversed his
strategy and used the ICC as a tool for

Reconnect with E19

ICC 2015-

To Schiphol

ICC 1998-2015

creating a spatial-economic product, the

international zone. This shift in strategy
from a transnational centre to the
international zone changed the urban
structure of the city and its relationship
within the region. This shift can be
viewed as a deliberate decision to depoliticise the city through a collection
of urban products. As cities compete
for foreign investments, a common
trend for city officials is to design
neutral territories that appear urban
but at the same time are empty of risk
because they are neither too big, nor too
small; they are optimised for a group of
people to live together for a common
economic purpose without a risk of
urban confrontation or conflict. The
idea of the city as a site of confrontation
is extremely risky as it reduces foreign
investment and creating enclaves help
avoiding this problem. It is a perversion
of the theses proposed by Jane Jacobs
in Death and Life of Great American Cities
where she claims that self-interest and
economic gain is the best way to secure
a city and its people. Only now the city
is secured from its people.

To Rotterdam
To Brussels


The Transnational Centre and its urban projects

The international zone

New centre 1998

project: international zone: 2009

Binckhorst 2006

ICC 2015 -

ICC 1998-2015

Regional project: international Coast

Prins Claus Plein 2002

Regional project: Delta Metropool 2002

The urban studies and projects initiated by Maarten Schmitt, the transnational centre (1998-2007) and the international zone (2007-)


During the first period, (1998-2007),

Maarten commissioned the Office for
Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) for
the urban studies Carrefour (1999),
Prins Clausplein (2001), and Delta
Metropool (2002). Carrefour, aims at
enlarging the city centre of The Hague
so that the ICC becomes part of the
centre. By combining the Den Haag
Centraal and Hollands Spoor station
into a single terminal this centre would
be well connected to both regional
and trans-European rail networks.
Prins Clausplein used an intricate
highway loop to connect The Hague
(international law) with Zoetermeer
(Bio-sciences) and Delft (technology)
to generate a trans-administrative

Prins Claus Plein - Connecting neighbouring knowledge economy

To Schiphol

New centre 1998


Binckhorst 2006

The Hague



The transnational knowledge centre created by the Prins Claus Plein highway knot

knowledge centre. The final study, Delta

Metropool projected a field metropolis
spanning the entire South Randstad
from The Hague all the way down to
Dordrecht. This metropolis would
have enough economic, political and
cultural clout to be able to consort with
Brussels. The three studies projected
a transnational centre in The Hague
as a direct response to Brussels and
Luxembourg, the Capital(s) of Europe.
Unfortunately the vision of the
transnational centre stopped with

the studies and the infrastructural

reorganisation that they imagined. The
different areas within this enlarged
centre were treated as generic urban
projects. The New Centre (2002) and
Binckhorst (2006) are the two urban
developments projects that were to be
redesigned within this transnational
centre. The urban relationship between
New Centre and Binckhorst as seats
of local, national and international
power was not questioned or projected
and they were designed disconnected
from each other. The New Centre is an


irregular geometrical area 600m x 275m

and is the administrative centre of the
nation and the city. Den Haag Centraal
currently feeds into the New Centre.
The project has been in progress since
the 1950s.5 New Centre is the third
name given to the project; the earlier
names are The Administrative Centre
and Den Haag Forum. Each of the
projects had a very specific subject in
mind. The Administrative Centre (1950s)
was about the nation and its citizens
and representation of the country. Pier
Luigi Nervis proposal for the area was
a grand avenue bordered by a wall of
towering ministries. The twin buildings
by Lucas and Niemeyer, for the Ministry
of Justice and Ministry of Internal
Affairs was the only building that was
built for this plan and it is currently
being renovated to hold a university
of international law among its other
generic programmes. Den Haag Forum
(1970s) talked about the civic, and Carel
Weeber designed this master plan. The
site was pedestrianized from Den Haag
Centraal to the church. A plaza was
created in front of the church bordered
by the town hall, a flight of steps and
a dance theatre. Today on exiting the
Den Haag Centraal station, one sees the
Jan Hoogstad VROM ministry building
that is currently being renovated to
accommodate the changing structural
organisation of the ministry. A tunnel
through the building leads directly
to the church 600m ahead. The site is
dotted with cafes and shops. It does not
have the representative quality of an
administrative centre and neither does
it have a civic quality of a forum. The
first 300m have the ministry buildings
as interiorised towers and the latter
300m ends in the empty square in front
of the church. A drawing for the area
proposed by Richard Meier in 2002
shows the skyline that he imagines for
this new centre and this is the vision
that is being realised today; the main
aim of this project appears to be a desire
to increase the floor area in the centre
of the city. Binckhorst was planned
around the ICC, and projected as an
international district. Initially the ICC

project: international zone: 2009

Regional project: international Coast - Strengthining economic
development along the coast

DeltaMetropool - connecting the cities in South Holland - creating a metropolitan


project: international zone: 2009

Regional project: international Coast - Strengthining economic
development along the coast


The Hague





American Embassy



American Embassy
ICC 2015-















The Hague
ICC 2015-


The Hague




The Hague extending across the entire South Randstad as a field in Delta Metropool

shared its office space with the newly

formed Eurojust. Within a few years
the two organisations were jostling for
space and at some point Eurojust was
moved to another building. Binckhorst
was slated for a complete makeover to
house these organisations and more like
them with the amenities that they would
need, like housing, educational facilities,
retail and entertainment.6 The urban
proposal for Binckhorst is typical of
the need to replace obsolete industrial
neighbourhoods with a knowledge
industry, which in the case of The Hague
is the international industry.
In 2007, with the start of the economic
crises, Binckhorst lost its developer
partners and the project was placed
on hold. The ICC and Eurojust still
needed permanent premises. This is
when Maarten commissioned a report
by Theo Deutinger Architects for
the siting of an international zone.
The term international zone as used
by The Hague defines a clustering
of international organisations like
embassies, nongovernmental and
intergovernmental organisations,
and headquarters for Multinational
corporations (MNCs) like Shell and
Aramco. The study by Deutinger

The ICC 0as the generator of the International Zone and the renewal of the coast line

architects is published in one of the

5 pillow books that Maarten had
commissioned in his eleven years and is
called International Hague.7 The report
is a means to justify the creation of an
international district to the citizens of
The Hague. Its narrative uses the events
around the Peace Conference in the
city in 1895 to subliminally project the
international zone as a historical, and
inevitable unfolding of the destiny of
the city. The story that the book narrates
is about De Bazels drawing of a plan
for a Centre of World Internationalism
after the competition for the Peace
Palace was announced. This centre
was to be an intellectual, scientific and
cultural forum as a natural consort to
the Peace Palace. This plan did not gain
traction but a decade later it was dusted
off and brought back by Berlage, but
then the forum was transposed to the
diagonal corner from the Peace Palace,
on a site that is occupied by the military
and bordered by dunes and the North
Sea. This is the same site that is chosen
for the new permanent premises of the
ICC in 2009. The almost rectangular
area with the Peace palace at one corner
and the ICC at its diagonal corner is the
area that is demarcated for development
as the International Zone, the structural


vision of which is being developed at

the moment. The report continues,
and stresses the importance of the
international industry for the economic
growth of the city and the direct and
indirect employment benefits for the
people. This story is repeated in the
Guide to International Organisations in The
Hague that is annually published by the
city administration.
The marketing of the International Zone
claims that it is an extension of the city,
a walk through the area and an analysis
of the urban plan indicates otherwise.
It is designed to be extremely secure
and parts of it are not accessible by
public transport. Its plan is radial, with
its centre occupied by a woodland and
park. The periphery of this green heart
is zoned to house intergovernmental
organisations. The Peace Palace is in the
South; European institutions (Eurojust,
Europol and the International Criminal
Tribunal of Yugoslavia) to the West
and international institutions (NATO
and the ICC) are in the Northeast.
The Northeast used to be the military
area and is difficult to access from the
city and the rest of the zone by public
transport. A highway constructed in
2012, connects the zone from West to











International Organisations

Education and policy institutes

1. Eurojust
2. International criminal tribunal for former yogoslavia
3. Europol
4. Organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons
5. International court of justice and Permanent court of arbitration
6. Hague conference on private international law
7. NATO/C3 Agency
8. International Criminal Court
9. Iran United states claims tribunal

12. Convention centre

13. T.M.C Asser institute
14. Peace Palace Library and Carnegie Foundation
15. The Hague Academy of International Law
16. Clingendael - Netherlands institute of international relations

National Security

International Business

10. Military barracks and museum

11. Scheveningen Prison

17. Aramco Overseas Corporation

18. Shell Headquarters
19. Chicago Bridge and Iron company


The retroactive grouping of the international industry into an urban project - the international zone


The national innovation centreof the Dutchsecurity cluster (HSD Campus), whichhas
beenestablished in 2014,also accommodates a real-time intelligence field lab. This living
lab will primarily be used as an experimental facility for comprehensive protection of the
international zone. Stakeholders have a need for intelligence and operational information
to share the security of this region. By experimenting real time a concrete contribution can
be provided in reducing the vulnerability of the area and improving response in the event of
website - Hague Security Delta 8

East directly to Schiphol. This allows it

to be disconnected from the rest of the
city and this was experienced during
the Nuclear Energy Summit hosted in
the city in March 2014. This highway is
a ribbon of varying thickness, thinning
in front of the institutions as a way to
slow vehicles down, creating bottlenecks
and making it an undesirable route to
take unless necessary. It also allows for
surveillance of the vehicle in front of
the institutions; this is an important
urban strategy while designing for
security. Another variation of a similar
intent is seen with the congestion
charge policy in London, where traffic
is greatly reduced in the city of London,
an extremely vulnerable area that was
heavily bombed in the 1990s and the
roads are bottle-necked deliberately
to increase surveillance. Vehicles are
considered one of the largest threats
to urban security. Surrounding the
international organisations is the third
ring, a sparse field of townhouses, many
of which are inhabited by NGOs and
embassies. The administration of the city
has demarcated two main streets in the
South fringing the city centre and the
international zone for non-governmental
organisations and has designed
prototypes of a multi-tenant office space
especially programmed for NGOs.
In March 2014, the city inaugurated the
offices for The Hague Security Delta
Campus (HSD). The website of HSD
clearly states that the International
Zone is a site for experimentation for
the campus to develop and hone its
services and products to create urban
security across the world. Since 2009,
the Fyra, (high speed train) does not
stop at The Hague and the city is part
of the slower infrastructural network.
This can be interpreted as a deliberate
act of disconnecting the city from the
everyday life of the people. It is an act
that disconnects the city from its context
and is a complete inverse of the strategy
that Schmitt had in mind before the
economic crises.

Hendrick Andersons plan for the Centre of International Communications as a response to the Peace Palace and then amended for the
Palace of the League of Nations


As cities vie for global competitiveness,

they are increasingly designed as a
landscape of enclaves, each has its
specific audience, economic and legal
framework. Instead of a single centre,
the city is a field of centralities each
with its own landmark building and
each of these centralities is neither
planned nor zoned but categorised by
different economic functions. Enclaves
and generic city centres are two sides
of the same coin. The enclave moves
functions that require atypical plans
out of city centres, and this allows the
centre to become a space of genericity.
The generic space has the lowest risk it is completely elastic. The removal of
economic risk goes hand in hand with
the removal of politics from the city.
The International Zone is nothing but
a variant of the what Keller Easterling
describes as The Zone - a generic
urban form that is an economic
and legal instrument for creating
exceptions.9 Easterling in her book
Extrastatecraft focuses on industrial
zones and their service economy variants
in developing economies. A zone is
typically assumed as a space where
cheap labour is instrumentalised for
multinational corporations (MNCs) who
are given tax incentives and property
ownership rights to train and employ
unskilled labour. It is a strategy to create
employment and skills in developing
countries and has been abused as a form
that only benefits MNCs. Though they
have proved unsuccessful they continue
to flourish because of the temporary
benefits that they provide and were
even recommended as a solution by
the United Nations Development
Programme. The International Zone
can be understood as a first world
mutant of the Economic Processing
Zone (EPZ). Selective infrastructural
networks that provide the same sense
of detachment from the city replace
the compound walls of the EPZ. These
networks connect the zone directly to
the international airport, avoiding its
immediate surroundings. Its monoeconomic function and the networks

Le Corbusiers 1927 plan of the Cite Mondial in Geneva was heavily critiqued by the rational modernists but was used extensively by a
group of internationalists as a precedent for the variations of the Mondial comissioned by Otlet, which were never realised

An island presents many advantages. It is isolated, which might be very desirable. It has no
railway approach, it is true; but railway approaches are bound to become railway reproaches, and, with increased facilities from sea and air, land access seems of less importance.
Sir Aston Webb10

A new site should be found and a new city should be devisedNow, the City for a League
of Nations must, above all things, be capable of growth; its planning dynamic rather than
staticand the site for the League of Nations is also the inevitable spot for the meeting-place
of the constructional activities of the human race: Art, Science and Industry This new
City will thus become the headquarters of inter-civic as well as inter-national interests... In
Bacons New Atlantis there is a nearer approach to an international centre in the description
of the college
Professor Patrick Abercrombie11


make it a transient space rather than a

functioning part of the city. Security is
a way to ensure control and protection
over the activity and habitation of the
zone. The international zone in The
Hague is an enclave. It comes from
a historical tradition of the way that
internationalism has been conceived in
architecture and has its precedents in
two projects, the World City designed
by Le Corbusier and commissioned by
Paul Otlet in 1927 and the more recent
International Humanitarian City in
Predecessors to the International
In December 1919, the Architectural
Review (AR) published an issue to
commemorate the victory of the allies in
World War I. The League of Nations was
born in the wake of this war to create
an institution that would be a space for
negotiation to thwart any future wars.
This issue of the AR collates opinions
from British architects about the
importance of the site for the League of
Nations (LN).
It was within this climate of
internationalism that Paul Otlet
commissioned Le Corbusier to design
the World City. Otlet was interested
in the organisation of knowledge that
included methods and technology to
organise knowledge, organisations of
knowledge and spaces that organised
knowledge and all these interests
coalesced in the Cit Mondial or
World City.12 He had already tested
some of these ideas in the Palais
Mondial, Mundaneum that he had
constructed in Brussels but when
Geneva was chosen as the host city for
the LN, Otlet decided to create another
version of the Mundaneum there the
Mundaneum Civitas. He believed that
internationalism could not be achieved
only within the domain of diplomacy
and it needed a knowledge consort.
In his essay A Union of International
Associations: A World Centre he explains a
successful international project needed

Paul Otlets sketch : Species of the Mundaneum - a scalar device to organise and disseminate knowledge


30000 international lobbyists

300 nongovernmental organisations
atleast 20 intergovernmental organisations and a supranational
The BeNeLux region is one of the most powerful geopolitical centres
in the world

Projecting the BeNeLux regional strategy as a spine with three nodes of a post-national constellation



Den Haag CS


PrinsClaus Plein

The new centre as a multi-scalar political space where local,

national, regional, European and International powers create a
post-national forum

The Existing buildings in the new centre

Town hall

Ministry of Security and Justice

Classification of atrium by movement

a - edge
b - tunnel
c - courtyard

Reading the new centre as a series of internal atria - Portmanisation of The Hague


The whole ideological scheme for the Mundaneum, as explained by Otlet, is an illusion,
a vain wish, a utopia; a music of the future about which the only certainty is that if it does
happen, it will happen differently than Otlet and Le Corbusier have imagined.
Karel Teige

a space that collects the intellectual

work created by different individual
associations dispersed across the
world.13 The main components of the
World City were a space of work which
was the headquarters of the Union of
International Associations, a space for
intellectual activity like debates, lecture
and discussions, a space of knowledge
diffusion in a form of a university and a
spaces of public dissemination through
a museum, library and archives.
A drawing by Otlet called Species
Mundaneum shows the World City
as a part of a larger network of spatial
devices that can be scattered around the
world.14 He imagined national, regional
and civic versions of the Mundaneum
and different ways of broadcasting
knowledge. Reading another essay
written by Otlet, Organisations of Society
of Nations it becomes apparent that
it was not the World City that was
at the centre of Otlets system but a
supranational organisation to which all
nation states relinquished sovereignty
and this organisation governed the
entire world.15 Otlets world city was
predicated on a global government.
Le Corbusiers, In Defense of Architecture,
written in response to Karel Teiges
criticism of his proposal, attempts to
provide a justification of the ideological,
economic, juridical and urban strategy
behind the project.16 The project is

drawn on assumptions that the site

would be donated by Switzerland and it
would be granted extraterritorial status
so that it was beyond the jurisdiction
of the local canton. An International
Bank would finance it, the structure
of which had been proposed by Paul
Otlet to Geneva and in principle had
been agreed upon. As an international
city it was to be connected with an
international airport and international
railway terminal, which would urbanise
the canton that it was planned in, and
connect it internationally. It would
function primarily for an international
knowledge society. Sited close to the
independent LN and International
Labour Union, it would function to
house the tourists and the workers of
these organisations. It would not be
incorrect to summarise the description
given by Le Corbusier for the World
City as - an enclave subsidised by the
government of Switzerland, granted legal
and financial exemptions to function as
a knowledge society and an incentive to
attract international finance and was
well connected to international travel
infrastructure. The World City was
influenced by a famous proposal
that was extensively circulated
around that time and heavily praised
in the AR mentioned above - A
World Centre of Communication
by Hendrik.C.Anderson. These
international cities were designed from
a legacy of capital cities and the ideal

Renaissance cities as obvious in their

geometrical plans, axes and ideas of
centrality. The World City as an enclave
is the model that is used in the design
of the International Humanitarian City
(IHC) in Dubai and the international
zone in The Hague but its use as a
precedent needs to be questioned in
a city because it fragments and depoliticises it.
An alternative regional strategy
The city as an autonomous unit
becomes irrelevant when one is talking
about a multi-scalar political system.
Instead of The Hague as the centre
of international justice competing
with Brussels to attract international
organisations, what if one would read
The Hague-Brussels-Luxembourg
as a single site of international,
supranational and national politics?
In the early period of his tenure as
city architect Maarten instinctively
attempted to create a transnational
centre in the city that responded to
Brussels. In the 1990s Europe was
developing a spatial planning policy
across administrative boundaries.
In most probability the economic
crises in 2007 put a hold to many of
the transnational strategic plans that
were underway. The European policy
chronologically followed a policy that
was developed in the BeNeLux union,
Benelux 1996: Espace de Coopration.

The IHC is a non-profit, independent free zone authority mandated by the Government
of Dubai to facilitate international humanitarian aid by: Supplying leading humanitarian
actors withworld-class logistics infrastructure, value-added services and administrative
support, Providing a platform for UN, NPO and regional staff to strengthen aid responses
and Facilitating coordination and collaboration among all aid providers.
Website - International Humanitarian City17


The void
(public programme)

The Private


Inner facade+
Outer facade+

Generic diagrams showing the internal atrium and its relationships with the city


Envelop Atrium

Tunnel Atrium

Courtyard Atrium

Parallel to the main public movement

Perpendicular to the main public


Clear sense of space and privacy


Specific diagrams showing the three types of internal atria in the new centre


The void
(public programme)



The Private

a programme

Envelop Atrium

Tunnel Atrium

Courtyard Atrium

Parallel to the main public movement

Perpendicular to the main public


Clear sense of space and privacy

Tunnel Atrium

Courtyard Atrium

Perpendicular to the main public


Clear sense of space and privacy

Envelop Atrium

Parallel to the main public movement



Inner facade+
Outer facade+

Generic diagrams showing the inverse - the external atrium and its relationship with the city







Specific diagrams showing the transformation of the three types of atria to create external atria


International Criminal Court (new)

Town Hall Existing

New construction
Building gutted at ground level

Ministry of Justice (above)


The transformation of a series of internal atria to a single external urban atrium in the new centre


The change in the urban massing with the introduction of the connecting external atrium across different buildings


Deuxime Esquisse de Structure Benelux.

Bruxelles 18 This was a revision of the
first spatial structural policy developed
for the union in 1986. The BeNeLux
union was formed in 1944, and is
considered an important model for the
creation of the European Union (EU).
The treaty for the BeNeLux union was
re-ratified in 2008 for an indefinite
time and the union was renamed the
BeNeLux Economic union. The union
has created a strong transnational
urban relationship between the three
countries, by standardising their legal
and financial framework and through
a well-connected railway network.
Luxembourg is the judicial seat of
the European Union; Belgium the
legislative and executive seat while
The Hague is the international centre
for security and justice. The BeNeLux
territory is a powerful geopolitical
space. The three countries between
them have approximately 380 NGOs19
and an approximate count of 32 IGOs
(headquarters and branches). Brussels
is home to around 30,000 international
lobbyists, second to Washington D.C.20
Schmitt was aware of this relationship
and his strategic plans involved the
complete South Randstad. This is
inadequate. Instead of planning each of
the three cities, The Hague, Brussels and
Luxembourg City as separate entities
they should be planned together as
a spine with each of these cities as a
node along this spine. This spine falls
across different administrative borders
and the BeNeLux union is possibly the
only supranational organisation that
could do so because of the size of the
three countries, the existing cultural
and social relationship between the
people and because of the economic

equality across this region. The spine

could be formed parallel to the highspeed rail network and The Hague
would have to resume the plans for
the Fyra that it had shelved. The Den
Haag Centraal station would be a node
along the spine. This would allow for a
new urban strategy for the New Centre
and even possibly resolve many of the
urban issues plaguing the site. This
strategy reclaims the New Centre as an
important site within the logic of flux
and interconnection across the territory.
Inversion of the Atria
Currently the New Centre is a collection
of architectural buildings that have no
relationship with each other. Each of
the buildings on site has a public atrium
within it. The description of Atlanta
in Koolhaas essay could be used to
describe The Hague and coincidently
both cities have an important civic
institution in the city designed by
Richard Meiers practice.
By propositionally transposing the
ICC into the new centre and inverting
the numerous internal atria to a single
external atrium that connects the
different institutions the existing
town hall and ministry of justice and
the ICC - a spatial entity that is urban
and architectural, internal and external
is suggested. The atrium connects the
lobbies of the institutions across the
site. Currently the lobbies resemble
the scene from Il Conformista, a film
by Bernado Bertolucci where the
grandeur and power of the institution
is represented in the vastness and
emptiness of its lobby, which is made
even more obvious by centring a single
receptionist in the void to stress the
scale of the space.

The new atrium became a replica as inclusive as downtown itself, an ersatz downtown.
Downtowns buildings are no longer complementary; they dont need each other; they
become hostile; they compete. Downtown disintegrates into multiple downtowns, a cluster of
autonomies. With atriums as their private mini centres, buildings no longer depend on specific
locations. They can be anywhere.
Rem Koolhaas 21


The external atrium structures the new

centre as an urban block. The periphery
of the block is a wall of autonomous
institutions. The interior of the block,
traditionally a private space, is inverted
to become a part of the pedestrian
walkway through the site and it exposes
the innards of the institutions and
connects them. The phenomenal
boundaries traced by the urban block
suggest a separation of the atrium from
the city though it is part of the daily
walk through the city. The atrium is
invisible as an architectural form in
the city and it is represented through
experience. This relationship between
the atrium and the city is akin to Lina
Bo Bardis Teatro Oficino in So Paulo,
where the theatre is envisaged as a street
parallel to the main thoroughfare of the
city. The disconnection and connection
between the theatre and the city is
choreographed and deliberate to ensure
that there is a relationship between the
passer-by and the performance but the
difference between the spaces is clearly
articulated and registered.
This external atrium is the space
demarcated for the post-national forum
and it will be inhabited by NGOs.
Legally the forum will be defined as
a public body. This is a very specific
term to the Netherlands and it has two
meanings, an administrative division
and a group of organisations performing
a specific function. The finance ministry
classifies NGOs as a public body.22 The
term can be used to classify the postnational forum as both a collection of
NGOs and an administrative division in
the city this prevents the NGOs being
read as a single form and allows the
individual organisations to retain their
autonomy. The space is owned by the
government and rented independently

to each organisation. Tenancy is a form

of membership giving each organisation
equal rights irrespective of size.
The economic rationale that allows the
forum to be part of the centre relies
on the density of NGOs and their
characteristic small size. By reducing the
floor area needed by these organisations
to a minimum and creating ample
shared resources that are used in the
city and the institutions for other
purposes allows them to remain in the
centre at market value. It invigorates the
ground plane of the city because of its
fine grain texture and at the same time
allows for the creation of autonomous
towers above that have typical plans
to organise the larger institutions. The
excessive fragmentation of the ground
plan also deters speculation in the
area leaving more consistent rents over
longer periods of time.

The new centre had no single strong identity, and

was a field of disconnected buildings that had no
relationship with the city. The massing of the new
centre is now conceived as an urban block where
the external perimeter is a series of autonomous

The site changes from a grid of buildings to an urban block

The void of the block merges with the pedestrian

routes that were common through the site

It retains its pedestrian quality that allows it to become

part of the city daily routine

The three lobbies of the institutions - The town

hall, the ministry of justice, and the ICC are pulled
towards the peiphery of the buildings and extended
across the void of the block generating a singular
central entity

The external atrium as a space of condensation and

connection between different institutions creating the

The main circulation routes through the block

merge with the external atrium - creating an
ambivalent condition between inside and outside,
architecture and urbanism

To transpose the ICC into the new

centre, the institution needs to be
redefined and an urban function for it
needs to be generated.
The external atrium is developed around the existing
pedestrian paths

Diagrams describing the change in the urban strategy used for the new centre

Section end notes

5 Vincent Van Roosen, Introduction, Civil Art: Urban
Spaces as Architectural Task, (NAi, 1996)
6 In September 2014, I interviewed Floris Alkemade who
was a partner at OMA and in charge of the studies and
projects done in The Hague. A transcription of the interview can be found in the appendix.
7 The Hague International, (Theo Deutinger Architects),
<>, [accessed on 15 April 2015]
8 Integral Area Protection - The Hague International
Zone, (The Hague Security Delta, 2014) <https://www.>, [accessed
on 13 April 2015]
9 Keller Eastering, Zones, Extrastatecraft: The Power of
Infrastructure Space, (Verso, 2014), pp. 25 - 71
10 Sir Aston Webb, A World Centre, The Home for the
League of Nations: A suggestion, The Architectural Review,
December 1919, pg 136
11 Sir Patrick Abercrombie, Planning a City for the
League of Nations, The Architectural Review, December
1919, pg 154
12 W. Boyd Rayward, Knowledge Organisation and a New
World Polity: The rise and fall and rise of the ideas of Paul
Otlet, Transnational Association, January-February 2003
13 W. Boyd Rayward (ed), The Union of International Associations: A World Centre, International
Organisation and Dissemination of Knowledge:

Essays by Paul Otlet, <

internationalorg00otle#page/112/mode/2up>, [accessed on
7 April 2015], pp 112-130
14 Charles Van den Heuvel, Architectures of Global
Knowledge: Architecture and the World Wide Web,
Volume, Nr. 15, pp 48-53
15 W. Boyd Rayward (ed), The Organisation of the Society
of Nations, International Organisation and Dissemination of Knowledge: Essays by Paul Otlet, <https://archive.
[accessed on 7 April 2015], pp 136-148
16 Le Corbusier, In Defense of Architecture in Oppositions Reader, translated by Nancy Bray and others, (Princeton Architectural Press, 1993) pp 599-613
17 Global Hub, (International Humanitarian City, 2003),
<>, [accessed on 13
April 2015]
18 Thiemo W. Eser, The Emergence of Trans Border
Spatial Development Policies for EU member states: The
case of Luxembourg, <
forschung/TAURUS/Diskussionspapiere/diskussionspapier4.pdf>, [accessed on 16 April 2015]
19 abey Hailu Senbeta , Nongovernmental organisation
and development in Benelux countries , 2003, Department of science and population and development studies,
Catholic University Louvain.


20 Ian Traynor, 30,000 Lobbyists and Counting: Is Brussels under Corporate way?, The Guardian, 8 May 2014
21 Rem Koolhaas, Atlanta, S,M,L,XL, (Monacelli press,
1995) pg. 843
22 Ministry of Finance, < >, [accessed on 10 April 2015]

Rendering by Hammer Larsen Schmitt, a Danish architectural

practice for the new building for the International Criminal
Court currently being built in The Hague showing the salle des
pas perdues.

THE court:
a space of jurisprudence?
Even the best national states in the world cannot control these global problems. We need
something bigger but the big countries do not like something bigger. So no one is designing
something bigger and I think that is the challengeWe need to create the community around
the court and that for me is one of the challenges
Luis Moreno Ocampo 23

The International Criminal Court is a

hybrid of two architectural legacies; the
IGO type developed between 1927-1954
and the law court building type. The
IGO type was developed by Corbusier
and is typified in the series: The Palace
of the League of Nations, The Union of
International Associations in the Cit
Mondial, The Palace of the Soviets, the
UN headquarters in New York and in
the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. On
studying this series it is not incorrect
to surmise that the architecture of the
UN headquarters is the apotheosis of
this type and has determined the way
that intergovernmental organisations
have been designed since. The
terminology that defines the IGO type
is constituency, extraterritoriality, and
representation and determines the
massing of the building and the way
that it is staged in the city. The law court
building type has two main phases of
development. The first is during the late
19th century when the law court as a
functional building was separated from
the town hall and market place and
defined as an independent institution
and the second is during the 1990s
when there was a surge of law courts
designed across the developed world.
The main development in these two
phases was the segmentation of the plan
as a spatial translation of due process.
In addition to these two legacies, being
an international building it is designed
with the more recently created rules
for security of international buildings
formed through the Standard Embassy
Design rules for American embassies.
Studying the five criteria in the

1927: Palace of the League of Nations,


Competition entry Palace of the League of Nations

1929: Cite Mondial - UIA, Geneva

1931: Palace of the Soviets, Moscow

Competition entry Palace of the Soviets

1946: United Nations headquarters NY

1958: UNESCO headquarters Paris

Scheme United Nations headquarters

Evolution of the IGO type - a series developed by Le Corbusier from 1927 - 1954 - the tower and the theatre


architecture of the ICC it becomes

evident that there is a greater focus on
security and extraterritoriality at the
expense of constituency. Constituency
is the criterion that determines the
relationship between the institution
and the city. It changes the definition
of the institution from a space where
law is practiced to a space where law is
established or a space of jurisprudence.
On including it within the current
diagram of the ICC it transforms the
relationships between the different parts
of the court and the way that it staged in
the city.
Constituency and the relationship
of the ICC to the city
The Charter of the UN, section 71,
overtly discusses the Economic
and Social Councils collaboration
with specialised agencies and nongovernmental organisations for its
work. In the report presented by the
Secretary-General there are details of a
building for delegations and specialised
agencies in the Northeast corner of the
site created for hosting these agencies or
their liaison offices.
The building for agencies and
delegations was never built because
they did not acquire funding for it.
As seen in the report there was an
educated forecast of a constituency
that will be formed. Though the
UN of 1946 believed them to be the
multiple agencies that will be created
by them for different issues, like the
International Labour Union, Food
and Agriculture Organisation, World
Health Organisation, UNESCO and
World Bank, in recent years the UN
has acknowledged the collaboration
between these agencies (and the many
that have been created since) and NGOs,
giving NGOs a consultative status and
thus formalising them as part of its
organisational structure. In 1946, 41
NGOs had a consultative status with the
UN, in 1992 the number was 700 and
today it is 3400.24 The ICC has a similar
article within its constitution and has

A page from the UN report submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly in 1946 describing the need for a building for the
constituents that will be craeted by the institution in the future

Buildings for Delegations and Specialised Agencies: These two groups must enter into the
planning now, although their requirements, are still far from being precisely determined.
There combined personnel will, in time, will equal that of a much enlarged secretariat.
Report by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly UN

awarded numerous NGOs a consultative

status. The Hague has seen an increase
of approximately 84% of NGOs since the
formation of the ICC. The architecture
of the ICC does not take this into
consideration. This constituency
is functionally critical for the ICC
and its role in the establishment of
international law.


Extraterritoriality and economics

An intergovernmental organisation
is architecturally not defined by
or identified with any one nation.
This autonomy was legally framed
by exempting the institution from
civic jurisdiction. Technically this
metaphorical removal of a piece

Drawing of the legal and property agreements between NewYork City

and the United Nations


NATO/TNO campus
Dune landscape protecting the city from North winds
Site given to the ICC by the city, used to house military barracks
Military barracks converted to a museum and parking
Hubertus tunnel a detour to leave the surface in front of the ICC decongested

The informal agreement between the ICC and The Hague

Drawing of the legal and property agreements between NewYork City

The legal framework and its influence on the site for the UN
and the United Nations

The translation of the extraterritoriality framework created by the UN in The Hague for the ICC

of land from its context is called

the neighbouring town of Wassenaar,
extraterritoriality. With the United
which is currently being developed as a
Nations a legal precedent was created
diplomatic centre around the American
for defining extraterritoriality of IGOs
embassy that is being relocated there. As
in an urban context. The institution
land values skyrocket, the stipulations
was provided a site as a gift from
of extraterritoriality create a negative
the Rockefeller foundation, which is
economic value for any site that is given
exempted, from federal gift tax and from
to an IGO and this in turns determines
local legal jurisdiction. It is considered
the site that the host city gifts the IGO.
an international territory answering
only to international
law. The site is
Extraterritoriality by definition
exempted from property tax and belongs
is neither negative nor positive.
Exemptions from national or local
NATO/TNO campus to the United Nations.
2 Dune landscape protecting the city from North winds
jurisdiction can create tax havens and
3 Site given to the ICC by the city, used to house military barracks
4 Military barracks converted to a museum and parking
drug corridors as likely as they create
5 Hubertus tunnel a detour to leave the surface in front of the ICC decongested
UN may acquire and was awarded
international justice institutions and
The informal agreement between the ICC and The Hague
to the new UN towers designed by
floating abortion clinics.26 For the ICC
Fumihiko Maki recently. The spatialit is important because it has to be able
legal framework of the ICC is modelled
to establish international law that is not
on the UN as evident in the Headquarters
influenced by the Dutch government or
Agreement between the International
the European Union. Extraterritoriality
Criminal Court and the Host State. The
is believed to protect the institution
ICC is exempted from civil jurisdiction,
from intimidation and control. Looking
its property is excluded from tax and it
back at the UN, we can trace a shift in
is a non-transferable property belonging
the relationship between U.S.A., NY City
to the institution. This legal framework
and the UN. In the 1940s Robert Moses
inevitably impacts the location of the
used the UN as an anchor in the urban
renewal project that he planned for the
site given to the institution by the
Netherlands. The military site gifted
area, which was a slum and the city gave
to the ICC has no economic value for
the institution numerous concessions
the city currently and can be used
by amending their zoning laws. In
to create an urban renewal project
recent years there have been talks of
that connects it to the coast and to
moving the UN out of NY because of the


congestion and security barriers that

its assembly creates in the city and also
because it holds prime real estate value
which generates no money for the city.
The US has also recently denied visas
to diplomats who were invited to the
UN because of its own national policies
as a way to pressure the institution. In
addition the institution is reliant on
the citys emergency services, police
and infrastructure. The extraterritorial
framework created for an IGO is weak
and in its current form works to the
disadvantage of the IGO. The framework
of extraterritoriality can be renegotiated
through the economic value generated
by the constituency created by the IGO.
Dual Representation and the role
of the theatre
NY City amended zoning regulations
around the UN HQ, giving it exclusive
rights to the waterfront in front of the
building and restricting the heights of
buildings around it. In a way it created
a representational bubble around
the institution, separating it from its
context. Symbolically it appears as if the
institution is universal and impartial;
independent of the host country;
creating a new world order. This is
the myth that has shadowed the siting

Competition entry Palace of the Soviets: Boris Iofan

Visual Representation of the United Nations Headquarters fture projection

Dual Representation - the vertical landmark vs the horizontal functional connector - Boris Iofan proposal
for the palace of the Soviets in 1930 and a sketch in the UN report submitted by the Secretary-General to the
General Assembly


Classificatory Devices

Court room

Salle des pas perdues


Salle des pas perdues

waiting room - threshold
George Edmund Street
Courts of Justice 1890

Richard Rogers
Courts of Law 1998

Denton Corker Marshall

Courts of Civil Justice 2007

Casestudies of law court building types showing the segmentation of the plan, the classificatory devices and the salle des pas
perdues as a threshold


Classificatory devices in the whole building


Non judiciary

Richard Rogers Design Partnership

European Court of Human Rights 1995
Strasbourg France

Classificatory devices from the legacy of law courts

Courtrooms and press






Distance = security/independence

European Court of Human Rights designed by Richard Rogers Partnership in Stasbourg in 1995 showing the international
court as a hybrid between the IGO type and the law court building type


city. This invisibility is counterintuitive

to creating a city that is the centre
of international law as The Hague is
attempting to do.
The plan of the ICC is a diagram of
security of due process rooted in a
legacy of law court buildings. Though
there are no detail plans available for
the institution and the architectural
competition brief is confidential to only
the competitors, the description of the
plans narrated below is an educated
assumption created after studying
low resolution presentation drawings,
renderings of the new premises, a
history of law court architecture, visiting
the existing premises of the court and
watching documentaries about the court
and its organisational structure.

Rendering of the proposed Supreme Court in The Hague by Claus Kaan Architects (proposed) - the
reduction of meaning of the salle des pas perdues as a lobby rather than a threshold

Studies can be made to bring about a better relationship between the United Nations
headquarters and the central area of New York City, around Grand Central station...It may
be possible, at some future time, to create an even more impressive pedestrian approach to the
United Nations site, so that the buildings and the river beyond may be seen in a single view
from the very heart of the city
Report by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly UN 27

and staging of IGOs across the world.

But this is only half of the story the
upper half. On the ground the UN had
a completely different ambition as seen
in the report by the Secretary-General
submitted to the General Assembly in
1946 talking about future projection of
the institution in the city.
In reality the UN has dual
representation a vertical
administration that was symbolised as
an international civil service away from
its context and a horizontal assembly
that connects the organisation to the
city and sets it as part of its context.
The dual representation originates
in functionalism, which allows the
institution to use its functional
components to create a formal language,
thus avoiding any single context or
style and creating a universal form
of representation. This functionalism

resulted in the parti of the theatre and

the tower that is most recognisable in
the UN but has been the essence of the
IGO type even since.
The urban modulations around the
UN were created to articulate the
difference between these two forms of
representation. In The Hague similar
modulations do the opposite and the
chosen site and the urban strategies for
it make the institution invisible. The
site faces the North Sea shielded by a
landscape of dunes, the main road in
front of the institution is decongested
through a bypass tunnel a kilometre
west of the site and all the land around
the institution is owned by the military
so zoning and heights are controlled by
the government. The disconnection of
the institution from the city, the railway
station and in the skyline the ICC
renders the institution invisible in the


There are six medium rise towers

sitting on a plinth of two levels. Five of
the six towers are rectangular in plan,
have the same dimensions and are the
office blocks, one for each department
of the institution. The sixth, square in
plan is the courtroom tower with four
courtrooms stacked above each other
with chambers for the judges. The
lower level of the horizontal podium
houses the salle des pas perdues with
public access into the courtrooms. The
upper level has meeting rooms that
connect the different departments,
the press gallery and interview rooms.
The courtroom has three exits - one
along each face - for the judge, defence
and prosecution. The fourth face has
a glass wall that connects the public
gallery and the courtroom visually. This
circulation logic continues through the
building and outside even into the site
plan ensuring that the four actors never
cross. The defence exits north, closest
to the Sheveningen prison. To the east,
there is parking for the employees of
the Court and the public enter from the
south. The west exit is for the judges.
This segregation of users into different
circulation patterns in the plan is what
Kenneth Frampton calls circulatory

devices and he identified it in the plans

of the League of Nations in proposals
submitted by both Hannes Meyer and
Le Corbusier and is common across
all law court buildings and IGOs.28
In the site plan proposed for the ICC
it is possible to read a security lock
between the site and the interior of
the court. There is a moat all around
the building and the rest of the site
is undulated and raised sometimes
up to 3m creating a landscaped wall
between the building and the city.
The ICC houses the complete legal
system-prosecutor, defence, witness
rehabilitation and protection services,
judges and administration something
that is typically seen across a city rather
than a single building. The segmentation
of the plan become more critical in
this condition to ensure due process
and avoid contamination of evidence,
witnesses or judge.29

internalised in the court. By reading

the ICC as a space where international
law is practiced it justifies the nonfunctional reduction of the salle des
pas perdues to a lobby because the
court has no direct relationship with
the inhabitants of The Hague or the
Netherlands. But the ICC does create
its own constituency that plays an
important role in the functioning of
the institution and redefines the ICC
as a space where international law is
established - a space of jurisprudence
as part of a larger international legal

Since the last two decades, public and
civic buildings are seen as targets of
terrorism and this is changing the way
that they are designed in the city. The

Internal Courtyards

Traditionally law courts have three

main segments, in increasing order
of formality and privacy they are, the
salle des pas perdues, the courtroom
and the offices. In a civic court the
salle des pas perdues has many roles. It
connects the court to the city, it is a
space where lawyers meet their clients
and await judgement, it is the space
where the press and the public discuss
and interpret the proceedings that they
have witnessed and finally it is the space
through which the defendant when
exonerated, leaves the court to go back
into the city. This structure of the law
court as a civic institution is to create a
public, based on shared values, which
are the established laws of the country.
The salle des pas perdues is the threshold
between the courtroom and the city.
In the ICC the salle des pas perdues is
designed as a lobby. The scaling up of
the civic court into an international
court transformed the organisational
structure of the court. The salle des
pas perdues is no longer where all the
different actors meet, wait or discuss.
The court has separate pressrooms, and
witnesses, prosecution and defence are

system. This gives a new functional role

to the salle des pas perdues as a workshop
of justice or a space where the protocols
of international law are negotiated. The
salle des pas perdues of the ICC can be
the space inhabited by the constituency
created by the court.

More Secure area

Police and Justice centre by XDGA - the linear bands is a diagram of security creating a series of internal courtyards




Meeting Room

ICC staff

meeting rooms


Office of the Prosecutor


Court Room



Viewing Gallery


Security Check



Office levels, separated by


First level: interdepartmental

collaboration and press









Ground level: Salle des pas

perdues and courtrooms access

Organisational diagram of the institution and its architecture as a translation of this organisational structure


The diagram of the court is a variation of

the theatre where there is a back stage,
audience box, and
towerside exits to
ensure that particpants are kept
separate at all times.
court tower
access below
Sections that
to the
diagramsto the diagrams


ICC from the analysis
Diagrams of the
ICC fromofthe


Section through the courtroom

Public access below


Schematic Sections of existing ICC

Schematic Sections of existing ICC




The courthouse sits within the urban

fabric protected by a series of buffers
that work in plan and section. Access
to the building
is different
for sits within the urban
fabric protected by a series of buffers
different particpants.
that work in plan and section. Access
to the building is different for
different particpants.

court tower

court tower

40 floors

Public access below

Public access below


Section through the courtroom

Section through the court room




40 ubl
00 ic P
sq ro
m gr

The diagram of the court is a variation of

the theatre where there is a back stage,
audience box, and multiple side exits to
around the court room
ensure that
The diagram
the court is a variation of
separate at allthe
theatre where there is a back stage,


2 floors

45 our
00 ts

Law Court

38 ork
50 sp
0s ace


4 floors


Diagrammatic section through the building

Schematic Sections
of existing
ICC of existing ICC

Classificatory device around the building

within the urban
The courthouse
within the sits
by a series of buffers
fabric protected
by aprotected
series of buffers
in planAccess
and section. Access
that work in plan
to the buildingto
foris different for
different particpants.
different particpants.

Existing programme of the ICC and

dimensions of floor space
Programmatic division in the ICC

Section through the courtroom


audience box, and multiple side exits to

are kept
proposed International
Criminal Court currently constructed in The Hague
separate at all times.





vetted embassy architects that designed

Section through the courtroom
Section through
the courtroom
the American
in Bangladesh,
Greece and Thailand. The embassy in
Bangladesh was the prototype for the
SED protocol.31


40 floors

40 floors



The history of urban design in cities

parallels the history of urban security.
Securing the city from disease created
the hygienist movement that led to
planning the city functionally. Jane
Jacobs blamed modernist functional
planning for creating dangerous
streetscape and supported medium
density mixed use cities. The oil crises
the ICC and
the focus
dimensions of floor space
and cities were planned to decrease
the consumption
of energy
a and
of the ICC
dimensions of floor space
city with greater emphasis on public
transport and alternative transport - The
Netherlands is exemplary in this regard.
In all these cases the city was planned
to protect
of The
the ICCcurrent
dimensions of floor
spaceprogramme of the ICC and
of urban security
of floorpeople
dangerous to the city and its institutions.
Now the city is protected from its



sq e

50 p
40 floors
0 ac

38 ork

45 our
00 ts

38 ork
50 sp
0s ace

40 ubl
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4 floors
sq ro
m gr
38 ork 3
50 sp 6
0s ace m
40 ubl
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sq ro
m gr


2 floors


40 ubl
00 ic P
sq ro
m g



2 floors

45 our
00 ts


m m
23 36



45 our
00 ts



40 ubl
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s r
2 floors qm ogra

2 floors


45 our
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4 0floors
3 38 orks
40 floors 6m500 pac
sq e

4 floors




guidelines for international buildings is

determined by the Standard Embassy
Design (SED) protocol designed for
American Embassies after a series of
terrible bombings in East Africa in the
1990s.30 The rules mimic the way that
castles were fortified. The building is
setback from the road; vehicles are
seen as a security threat. There are
a minimum of two layers of barriers
between the building and the road, the
first is the setback, second is a moat
around the building. Sometimes there
is a compound wall between the moat
and the edge of the site. The building
is sunk into the site to create a higher
ground around to increase visibility of
the surroundings from within and to
secure the building from vibrations of
blasts. The lower levels of the building
are solid to prevent injury when glass
shatters because of a bomb blast.
The Organisation for Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons, headquartered in
The Hague was the first in the new
series of highly secured IGO buildings
designed by KMW Architecture, an
American practice that is one of the

The diagram ofThe

court is of
a variation
the courtofis a variation of
the theatre where there is a back stage,
the theatre where there is a back stage,
audience box, and multiple side exits to
audience box, and multiple side exits to
ensure that particpants are kept
ensure that particpants are kept
separate at all times.
separate at all times.


The biggest threat to the city is not

security but the de-urbanisation of
it. Cities are important because of
the milieu that they create density,
competition, sociability, antagonism, all
qualities that make the city what they
are. Security is essentially a balance
of maintaining or exacerbating these
qualities while attempting to reduce
threat.32 The only way to completely end
threat is to end these qualities - removal
of people from the city or removal of
political institutions from the city. The
threat to political institutions needs
to be far more realistic the myth of
insecurity is a useful political spin but it
might just prove to be detrimental in the
long run.
For the Police and Justice Centre
in Zurich, XDGA uses a diagram of
parallel-disconnected ribbons creating
particular internal spaces that are
distanced from the city and people.
Coop HimmelB(l)au Architects use
the section as a way to protect critical
parts of the new European Bank being
constructed in Frankfurt from the

Programme Statement
for the New ICC
Offices of the court

Total Area

Office of the President of the court
Office of Vice President
Office of the second vice president
Judicial Division
18 judges with their offices




Semi Autonomous offices

Office for public counsel for victims
Office for public counsel for defense
Trust fund
Office of the Prosecutor
Deputy Prosecutor


Bureau working room (20 people)

Security council + icc committee
General assembly - 122 members
Committee on budget and finance
Committee on trust fund
Oversight Commitee on the premises
Conference rooms
Office for the general assembly

Court Rooms

4 court rooms
Press Rooms and interview rooms



5 staff per judge















Space for different

stations, bloggers,
information desk, press
















offices for 100 NGOs

Conference rooms
Project Rooms
Seminar rooms





Secretariat of the

Specialised agencies

Number of


Administration and finance staff
Conference and general staff
Department of public information

Department of external relations

Department of outreach










20 people per NGO


Exhibition Halls




New Programme statement added to the existing programme of the International Criminal Court (highlighted in yellow)


38 ork
50 sp
0s ace
40 ubl
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sq ro
m gr

45 our
00 ts

38 ork
50 sp
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45 our
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Alternative programme for the salle

des pas perdues
40 alle
00 de
0s s p
qm as



Existing programme of the ICC











38 ork
50 sp
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Proximity and connection diagram

Tower and theatre

45 our
00 ts

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40 ubl
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40 alle
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The tower and the theatre

The shift in balance of the private and public programme on introduction of new programme into the institution







Proximity diagrams and shifting relationship between the different departments in the ICC












Proximity and connection diagram

Tower and theatre

Courts, Assembly, Library

Typical Plan

Large Span

Press and NGOs

Fine Grain dense

Structural difference









The tower and the theatre










State + NGOs

Management Diagram


Connection with the city

Vertical representation

Functional representation

Diagrams showing the structural, management and representational differences in the spaces


urban fabric. The Bank of England,

has a wall that almost fortress like
keeps the interior safe but still forms
a relationship with the city. This
concentric diagram, layered in plan and
section, is one that can be used while
designing the ICC in the new centre.
The Alternative Diagram for the
institution in the new centre
Including the constituency (NGOs)
in the programmatic structure of the
institution generates an alternative
diagram for the ICC that has two
parts one for the practice of law and
the other as a space of jurisprudence.
This dichotomy is legible in the formal
organisation of the institution and
resonates with the dual representation
of the IGO type, where the practice
of law is defined as the tower that
is detached and uninfluenced by its
context while the space of jurisprudence
is the theatre/forum that connects the
institution with the city and creates an
urban role for it.
A new programme statement is generated with 40000 square meters of space
added to create a place for NGOs to
work with the institution. This inclusion shifts the balance of the institution
from a top heavy one to one that is both
extraterritorial and contextual. This
figure is based on a study of the programme statement created for the UN
and through a survey of the NGOs that
are present in the city that work with
the ICC. This added space is interpreted
as the public threshold of the institution and it redefines the current defunct
salle des pas perdues as a workshop. It
allows for workspaces for NGOs along
with shared facilities that are used by
the institution, NGOs and other practitioners of international law, which are
the library, the archives and an assembly

skyline that is currently being formed.

The external atrium is formed by appropriating the lobbies and the salle des
pas perdues of the three institutions the
town hall, the ministry of justice and the
ICC- and connecting them across the
urban space in-between the institutions.
The external atrium becomes the postnational forum a threshold between
institutions. This forum is inhabited by
NGOs because of their malleable jurisdiction and their relationship both with
the city and with the ICC.
The organisation of NGOs within the
forum determines its architecture.

Section Endnotes
23 Luis Moreno Ocampo, One on One interview with
Katherine Keating, <
[accessed on 13 April 2015]
24 <>, [accessed on 15
April 2015]
25 Acquisition of the site, The Permanent Headquarters of
the United Nations, Report by the Secretary-General to the
General Assembly, pg. 6
26 Anselm Franke and others, Islands the Geography of
Extraterritoriality, Archis, 2003
27 Projections, The Permanent Headquarters of the United
Nations, Report by the Secretary-General to the General
Assembly, pg. 80
28 Kenneth Frampton, The Humanist versus The Utilitarian Ideal, Architectural Design, March 1968
29 Linda Mulcahy, Legal Architecture: Justice, Due Process
and Place of Law, (Routledge, 2010, Kindle edition)
30 Jane C. Loeffler, The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building
Americas embassies, (Princeton Architectural Press, 1998),
pp 172- 178
31 ibid
32 Thomas Osborne and Nikolas Rose, Governing cities:
notes on the spatialisation of virtue, Environment and
Planning D: Society and Space, 1999, Volume 17, pp. 737-760

Specifically on the site (the New Centre),

the administration of the court is projected as a landmark tower that creates
recognition of the court within the citys


A detail of the massing of the ICC proposed in the new centre - the building is designed as a series of linear bands. These bands allow
different areas of the court to become secure from the city in plan. The massing model on the left is cut at the atrium level and shows the
relationship between the private spaces of the ICC (in red) and the salle des pas perdues that merges into the external atrium. The massing
model on the right shows the entire massing of the building where sectionally the building is layered to house vulnerable departments
which have the maximum setback from the city and the atrium


An image of the Bertha Von Suttner multi-tenant office building

built by The Hague to house nongovernmental organisations. The
building currently holds 29 organisations

THE forum:
organisational form
Edet Belzberg, director of the
documentary Watchers of the sky narrates
the story of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish
migr to the United States whose
family was annihilated by the Nazis.
Lemkin invented the term genocide.
The movie shows Lemkin as a one
man lobbyist company in the early
sessions of United Nations, persuading
ambassadors to the UN to ratify the
legal framework that he developed
for the term genocide.33 Though the
UNs General Assembly accepted the
Genocide Convention 1948 it was only
in 1995 that an international court
interpreted it for the first time.
Stroom Den Haag, a privately funded
research institute organised a series of
events, discussions and publications
around a research theme that they
called See you in The Hague. This
theme began in 2013 and was spurred
by the citys development of the
international zone and will continue till
2016. As described on their website, it
is a multifaceted narrative about the
ambitions and reality of The Hague
as International City of Peace and

The main focus of this programme

is the impact and transformation of
cities by war, security and international
justice. Regular participants in the
gallery are researchers from Forensic
Architecture and The Hague institute
of Global Justice. Both the institutes
began in 2011. The Hague Institute of
Global Justice is supported by the city
of The Hague and the Dutch national
government. Forensic Architecture
is funded by the European Research
Council Grant up to 2015 and is also
a partner at Stroom for See you in
The Hague along with Amnesty
International Netherlands and The
Coalition for the International Criminal
Court (CICC). CICC is an organisation
with 2500 NGOs members that began
with 25 members who worked with
governments for establishing the ICC.
Forensic architecture has also done
work with Project on International
Courts and Tribunals (PICT). PICT
was founded by Cesare P.R. Romano,
a law professor at Loyola Law School,
LA and a pioneer of the study of
international adjudication.35 PICT has
been working on a project to create
a network of international courts so

type of people employed in different organisations 2010

Distribution of the jobs by type of organisation 2010


that registrars, judges and staff of

different international courts can come
together in a space to share and create
knowledge about different courts, their
working methods and the protocols that
they use.
These are some examples of the NGOs
that can inhabit the post-national
forum and are currently present in
The Hague. These institutions have
two main functional parts, an office
space and a space for dissemination
of knowledge, which may be in the
form of lectures, exhibitions, book
launch or demonstration. Currently
they are scattered around the city;
they create discrete spaces where
they share knowledge with a selected
group. This does not create a forum
because adversarial relationships
are a prerequisite of a forum. This
definition of a forum is derived from
interpretations of the fora in ancient
Athens where the staging of civic
institutions around the agora was meant
to create a space of confrontation and
negotiation between different points of
view resulting in a democratic society.

Increase in employment by organisation type 2010


Dutch citizens
employed in high positions



Dutch citizens
employed in middle/low positions

NGOs employ the maximum number of Dutch people

NGOs make up 13% of the international industry in employment

Statistics about the nongovernmental organisations in The Hague















International citizens
employed in middle/low positions



International citizens
employed in high positions

NGOs have grown 84% in the last decade in the city

policies and standards enforced by

government_ they rely on complete
transparency of the way that they and
their finances are organised. Their
formal incorporation within the system
is what gives them legitimacy to act
on behalf of a voting public who had
not voted for them.36 They gain their
legitimacy by creating public work
and publishing them as papers, books
and through documentaries. They are
only able to apply for funding because
they are formally organised. Second,
they are already being organised
in cities. The Hague, Boston, San
Francisco and many other cities have
recognised their importance in civil
society and as economic entities.37 For
cities, NGOs are similar to the creative
industry and are treated as a way to
renew run down neighbourhoods that
have low rents. Lastly without a larger
organisational structure NGOs, private
research institutes et al often become
the victims of arbitrary government
decisions that are usually short-lived
and reactionary but affects the work of
the organisations.38
Team/Department space
Plan of Centraal
Beheer by Herman Hertzberger - creating a central communal space supported by groups of individual work spaces
Shared Space

Though this version of a society is

dismissed as ideal it has been the
model by which city centres have been
designed for centuries and is visible
across Europe. To enable a post-national
forum an adversarial organisational
strategy between the inhabitants of the
forum, in this case NGOs will have to be

A misguided fear of organising NGOs

is that structure would destroy the way
that they work. First, It is important to
dispel with a misunderstanding around
NGOs and independent research
institutes. These organisations are
not informal, they would not be able
to function the way that they do, if
they were. To be able to question the

The mayor of The Hague, Jozias Van

Aartsen, acknowledged the importance
of NGOs in the city in a speech in
May 2012.39 Around 2500 people
are directly employed in NGOs and
approximately a total of 18000 by all
international organisations. Another
18000 are employed indirectly because
of the services that they provide to
this international sector. The city has
provided two facilities in the city for

The town square consisted of a large open space crossed diagonally by the main street of
Athens. At the sides of the agora were temples and buildings called stoas, sheds with an open
side onto the agora. A number of activities occurred simultaneously in the agora - commerce,
religious rituals, casual hanging out. In the open space there was also a rectangular law
court surrounded by a low wall, so that citizens going about their business or making
an offering to the gods could also follow the progress of justiceA democracy supposes
people can consider views other than their own. This was Aristodes notion in the Politics.
He thought the awareness of difference occurs only in cities, since the very city is formed
by synoikismos, a drawing together of different families and tribes, of competing economic
interests, of natives with foreigners.
Richard Sennett in Spaces of Democracy


NGOs; The Bertha Van Suttner building

and the Zeestraat building, both near
the Peace Palace. They describe these
buildings as made for measure for
NGOs with research and meeting spaces
provided on a sharing basis. Twenty-nine
NGOs have their offices in the Bertha
Van Suttner building. Though there
are no plans available of the building,
a search into multi-tenant buildings
for not-for-profit (NPOs) organisations
resulted in a series of documents by
foundations, governments and real
estate organisations. These documents
discuss the importance of providing
multi-tenant facilities for NPOs as a way
to retain them in cites. Synthesising
these documents, the main arguments
for these buildings is that NPOs/NGOs
are extremely vulnerable to inconsistent
rents and it often the reason that they
leave cities for suburbs or towns. All
the papers recommend multi-tenant
buildings, close to public transport
and fitted with shared amenities like
meeting spaces and spaces for larger
gatherings. Many of these reports were
American and dated between 2002-2003,
around the time of the crash of the
dotcom bubble when many office spaces
lay vacant. A more essential question
that is hinted at in these reports but
not adequately answered is how these
buildings allows NGOs to be read as
independent autonomous entities.
NGOs are wary of proximity to other
NGOs, large foundations or corporations
because it affects the way that they are
funded and also casts a doubt on their
associations and political leanings.

Amsterdam Orphanage by Aldo Van Eyck - an example cited by Maki of group form. The individual spaces are read in volume, the organisation and in plan. The composition of the orphanage is non-central


It can be surmised that the multitenant building is not an ideal form

for a forum. It is interiorised, it reads
as a single organisation where
the differences between individual
NGOs is illegible. It relies on creating
a community. It creates a space of
consensus because the tenants come
together only because they are affiliated
in some way. The multi-tenant building
comes from a history of two workspace
precedents - Central Beheer by Herman
Hertzberger and the Scandinavian

Saka-ide artificial ground by Masato Otaka- an example of density and multiple ownership of group form

What makes these architects exciting - and maybe what makes them Asian - is that they do
not avoid, like their European contemporaries, the central issue of quantity - the masses - that
had propelled the prewar modernists... European cousins refine, rediscover the small scale;
metabolist Asians - conscious of, even inspired by, demographic pressure - imagine other
richer, more spontaneous, freer ways or organising congestion.
Rem Koolhaas discussing Japanese architecture exploration in the 1960s 40

Airlines (SAS) Office by Niels Torp. In

Central Beheer the organisation of the
office is based on small work groups and
hence the plan is divided into modules
that are separated from each other. In
the combi-plan for SAS, the employees
were stake holders of the company and
this is the basis of the plan a central
public spine with common facilities
connect wings of private cells. Both
these examples were developed as a way
to reconcile the duality of an individual
in a collective. Though the precedents

provide the two organisational elements

the cell and the spine, in these
examples the elements are a slave to
an ownership model that depends on
the creation of a community. The plans
define the centrality of the community
surrounded by cells that are clustered
together. The post-national forum is
not a community but a collection or a
group of objects. To create an adversarial
organisational strategy, each NGO has
to be read as an autonomous entity with
equal ownership rights and they have to


be arranged within the space such that

they generate a threshold that allows
them to create a space of confrontation.
These decisions are not mutually
exclusive but inform each other.
Fumihiko Maki in the 1960s developed
ideas about group form with Masato
Otaka, which is published in his
Investigations in Collective Form. Maki was
primarily interested in developing ideas
about group form over compositional
form (academic) or mega-form (inclining

Section x

Section y

The Total Theatre

Strelka Institute

Marina Abramovic Institute

Casa da Musica

Wyly Theatre

Teatro Oficino

A study of a series of theatres that can be called the political theatre and were commissioned by theatre directors and performance artists.
The series: The Total Theatre by Walter Gropius comussioned by Piscator, Strelka Institute in Moscow by WowHaus Architects, Marina
Abramovic Institute by OMA, Teatro Oficino by Lina Bo Bardi, Casa da Musica by OMA and Wyly Theatre by OMA. The theatre have in
common. This drawing shows the changing section of the theatre that created a relationship between the auditorium and the city. In traditional theatres the auditorium is an internal space that disassociates from the city to create a strong sense of fiction but in the political
theatre - the auditorium is used as a device that creates a strong sense of connection between the performance and reality.


The performance and the city

Reciprocal view
Relationship to passersby

Pedestrian Bridge about 6m above level of Strelka

The political theatre as a part of the city. The city is scene for the theatre and it allows for seredipitous encounters between passer-by and
the the performance


Linear Stage with galleries supported

off one wall like a shelf




Sliding Dome

A iag
ov udi ram
er en m
lo ce a
ok r tic
in ak S
g es ec
th - t
e lik ion
lin e
ea sh
r s el
ta ve
ge s


Garden Glass wall

Plan at Level 2.3 and Level 4.8

Sliding Dome




Section x

Centre Stage Sliding dome
Centre stage - open to elements
Wind, Sunlight Rain - part of the production

Garden Glass wall

Opens to the outside
The city and light become part of the production

Garden Glass wall

Principle Form
Siding Dome

Tunnel - connecting

Lina Bo Bardis Teatro Oficino as an example of a political theatre. The theatre has a tunnel like form and light is an important part of
the design of the space - it allows the audience to see each other and there is a constant sense of brutal realitythat can only be generated
by sunlight. There are two sources of direct light, The Curtain wall that connects a third of the linear stage with the rest of the city and a
sliding central dome that allows the linear stage to be top lit. This subtle difference along the length creates fragments that are unique in
their relationship between the audience and the performance


ce ium
en or
di dit
au au
ed he
ad t
lo of
le rt
ub pa
Do ark

e s
m op
do h
g ks
in or
id w
sl nd
ith a
w io
e ud
ag st
St or
re r f
nt de
Ce roa

gr y
ck ler
ba gal
en e
rd nc
ga ie
ll ud
wa a
s ed
as ap
Gl Sh

The Linear Stage divided into types of spaces through varying

audience relationships and scenography

Connections with the city

Building extent
Reciprocal view
View from upper gallery

A possible sequence of encounters between the audience and between the audience and the performance


What is essentially similar becomes essentially different through repetition instead of what
is but arbitrarily different becoming arbitrarily similar through addition. (A universal city
molesting sickness)
Aldo Van Eyck

towards rapid obsolescence). Makis

investigations define four qualities
of a group form boundary of the
entire group, the articulation of the
unit, threshold/in-between space and
linkage. The linkage can be a building,
infrastructure or even an ephemeral
quality that creates a connection
between the elements in the group and
between the group and the rest of the
city. The text is important because it
deals with two important issues while
planning a space that is a collection of
individual, autonomous units. The first
is density and the second is multiple
ownership of a single space. He cites
two examples that should be studied
further - The Saka-ide Artificial Ground
by Masato Otaka and the Orphanage
in Amsterdam by Aldo Van Eyck. Both
these examples create forms that are
between architecture and urban form.
Saka-ide artificial ground is the
creation of a housing superstructure
on an artificial ground of concrete that
is detached from the ground plane.
The housing superstructure is made
up of austere homes for salt workers
and is a dense grid of multi-level
housing surrounded by gardens. The
structure of the real and the artificial
ground are separate from each other.
The detachment from the ground
allows the ground-void to be used
to create additional programme as a
way to maintain the site and was to
be developed into parking or other
programmes when required. The
workers own the artificial ground while
the ground itself belongs to the city.
In Steps towards a Configurative
Discipline, published in August 1962
in Forum, Aldo Van Eyck writes about
the aesthetics of numbers and the
need for a way to configure cities with
the use of an organisational structure

for greater density while retaining the

quality of individual buildings. His
project, the Amsterdam Orphanage was
used as Maki as an example of group
form. In the project Van Eyck created
modules of two different scales that
were to house the living quarters and
the shared spaces. For Van Eyck the
orphanage was an architectural and an
urban strategy. The definition of each of
the modules by corner columns and a
domed roof allows each space to be read
as a unit and together these units create
a larger urban form. The planning of the
orphanage was deliberately non-central
to dissolve hierarchy between different
spaces. Van Eyck was interested in
reconciling mythical antonyms that he
believed plagued architecture of the
time including the disciplinary divisions
between architecture and urbanism.
The traditional forum is predicated
on a central clearing surrounded by
institutions. This form is scaled down
within a building as can be seen within
the atrium of the town hall. The central
space is homogenous and neutral.
The description of the Greek agora
by Richard Sennett formally depicts
this centrality. In contradiction to this
way of viewing confrontation, is the
political theatre. The political theatre
is a series of architectural experiments
in theatre design that began in the
early 20th century. One of the examples
of this type of theatre is the Teatro
Oficino designed by Lina Bo Bardi for
Z Celso. The theatre is designed as a
street; sections along this street create
different configurations of the way that
the audience and the performer relate to
each other. The linear variation breaks
the hierarchy of any one individual
space, creating multiple overlaying views
and aural stimuli. The audience moves
along the theatre and the performance
and can view the performance from


many directions and from different

levels. Teatro Oficino is one example
among a series of theatres that
attempted to create an audience. The
theatre attempts to create a connection
between the city and the performance
space, multiple relationships between
the audience and the performers and
interaction between spectators. It is a
space of action rather than a space of
viewing where spectators are forced to
be aware of themselves and others.
The Organising strategy for an
adversarial forum
Thresholds: Using Makis rules for
creating a group form each NGO is
designed to have an independent space.
This autonomy is read in the difference
in the floor plane demarcated for each
NGO, the bounding columns and the
independent roof structure. A difference
in ownership is clearly traced in the
plans and can be read with the changing
column form, grid spacing and roof
heights. This extends not only to the
NGOs but also in the clear marking
of thresholds between the different
organisations. This clear distinction of
thresholds is structured within a space
that in first glance appear smooth and
Fragments: The lack of centrality generates a space that can never be read in
totality. One is always within a piece of
the space and reads the immediate surroundings as a series of vertical layers
through their own position. Every NGO
has a unique relationship with their
neighbours and the form of the forum
and this relationship is marked by a
series of steps that create a local focus.
Ambivalence: The forum is appropriates
both private lobbies of institutions and
the public thoroughfare of the city. The

An ideological surplus... make everyone uncomfortable and edgy... everybody has to justify
their own existence to themselves... cacophony...
Alvin Boyarsky describing the pedagogical intent of the redesigned unit system at the AA 41

Typical organisation of space to create a homogenous public

Post-National organisation to create an adversarial forum

The grid of columns create a clearing in the centre

Multiple grids create a space with numerous centralities

Equal spacing of beams flood the space with light equally

Unequal spacing of beams choreographed with pockets of light

create different experiences of space

A seamless section along the space creates a singular volume

Volumes change with floor and roof plane fragmenting the space

Diagram describing the transformation of the architectural elements within the atrium to create an adversarial forum

lack of walls between the forum and

the city (the boundary is articulated by
the roof plane and the buidings around
it) creates an ambiguous relationship
between the forum and the city. Its semi
open quality allows it to become a space
that can be inhabited informally by a
variety of users that cannot be architecturally organised into space like activists,
protesters, and the homeless.
Light: A theatre is designed as a black
box there is no room for natural light
and if required it is introduced artificially. In contradiction, in a political theatre,
light plays a role of a framing device that
allows the audience and the performer
to identify one another other clearly.
It imparts brutal realism to the performance and the context. Being an atrium
light is an important participant in the
forum and is used to choreograph
different spaces. The auditorium lies in
the gutted lobby below the ministry of
justice shadowing it, while the courtroom is bathed in indirect light from the
judges courtyard. The varying height
of the roof and changing beam depths
creates a space that is differentially lit
across its section with dark corners for
private discussions and large brightly lit
spaces for public meetings.

Section Endnotes
33 Movie <>, [accessed on 6 April
2015]; Raphael Lemkin defined genocide as a crime
that was taking place within a countries territory by the
government of the country. Till his definition of the word,
international organisations only recognised war crimes
and crimes against humanity as crimes that nations performed on other people and countries beyond their own
territory. Crimes committed within a national territory by
its leaders were not punishable.
34 See you in The Hague, (Stroom Den Haag), <http://
id=7944751>, [accessed on 14 April 2015]
35 Francesco Sebregondi in conversation with Cesare
P.R. Romano, The Architecture of International Justice,
Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, (Sternberg Press
and Forensic Architecture, 2014), pg. 317

36 Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformations of the

Public Sphere, (M.I.T. Press, 1991), pp 155-170
37 Third sector New England, A Multi-Tenant Centre for
Boston Area Non-Profits and Community Organisations,
2002; Rod Hsiao and others, A Market for a San Francisco
Nonprofit Multi-Tenant Project, 2001
38 Jason Burke, Indian Government Ordered to Unblock
Greenpeace Funds, The Guardian, 21 January 2015
39 NGO network generates increased value, Municipality
Den Haag, <>, [accessed on 10 April 2015]
40 Rem Koolhaas, Singapore Songlines: Portrait of a
Potemkin Metropolis, S,M,L,XL, (Monacelli press, 1995)
pg 1044


41 Irene Sunwoo, From the well-laid table to the marketplace: The Architectural Association unit system, Grey
Room. In this article Irene Sunwoo is discussing Alvin
Boyarskys redesign of the unit system at the AA. It it is a
much smaller scale than the forum but as a case study of a
pedagogical project it offers a compelling reason to organize conflict and difference to create a critical audience

Existing buildings on the site

Proposed construction - The ICC and gutting the
ground floor of the ministry of justice

Site plan showing the existing and proposed new construction of the site. The ICC replaces De Resident - a mixed use development. The
ground floor of the ministry of justice is gutted upto 20m allowing for a creation of a lobby, auditorum and extension into the external


public but owned by


Private programme spaces - owned by the


external attrium public - owned by the

city and NGOs

private - only accessible to the institution

Site plan showing a series of thresholds in the external atrium. The atrium is an extension of lobbies and the salle des pas perdues of the
town hall, ministry of justice and the ICC - parts of the atrium are completely public and parts are inaccessible. The thresholds demarcate


Public circulation

Public access to institution

Private access to institution

Site plan showing circulation paths through the external atrium. The atrium is part of the main thoroughfare through the site. The public
access to all the institutions is through the atrium - in effect the atrium is the shared space between the institutions, city and NGOs.
Private access to the institutions are from the main roads surrounding the site.


Size of NGO - Smal <10 peoplel

African Foundation of International Law
Type: Publication

International Association of Prosecutors

Type: Umbrella and justice

Africa Legal Aid

Type: Publication and discussions

Netherlands red Cross

Type: Projects

Global Human Rights Defense

Type: Education

The Hague Institute of Global Justice

Type: Research

Institute for historical justice and reconcilation

Type: Education and justice

The Hague institute of internationalisation of law

Type: Review, watch and research

Microjustice for all

Type: Legal expertise

The Hague Security Delta

Type: Products and innovation

Institute for historical justice and reconcilation

Type: Education and justice

Size of NGO - Medium 10-50 people

Association for Defence Counsel

Type: Review and Watch

Institute for International Criminal Investigations

Type: legal expertise

Centre for International Legal Cooperation

Type: Legal expertise

International Judicial Institute

Type: Research

European Judicial Network

Type: Umbrella and research

International Justice Mission

Type: Review and Watch

International Centre for Couter Terrorism

Type: Research

Justitia et Pax
Type: Education

Size of NGO - Large >50 people

The Hague Justice Portal
Type: Research

Amnesty International
Type: Research and advocacy
Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Type: Umbrella Organisation, review and Watch

Type of NGO and programme and proximity

International Criminal Court

Umbrella Organisations - networking


Programme: Workspaces, Meeting rooms

Proximity: Forum and Grand Hall
Programme: Workspaces, Reprograhics, Display rooms, Meeting Rooms
Proximity: Grand Hall


Programme: Workspaces, project Rooms
Proximity: Archives, Library


Programme: Workspaces, Lecture Halls
Proximity: Auditorium, Library

Town Hall

Programme: Workspaces, Display Rooms

Proximity: Court Rooms, Archives


Legal Expertise
Programme: Workspaces, Meeting rooms
Proximity: Court room, library


Ministry of Justice

Directory of NGOs that work with the ICC and on issues relevant to justice and security. The NGOs are organised depending on their
type which is listed above.


The three distinct grids - the vertical large space tri-grid for the ICC, the square uniform grid for the space owned by the city and the
horizontal large span grid for the gutted lobby of the ministry of justice. These grids are broken with the smaller grids of different NGOs.


Zoom of an area in the plan where all the grids meet each other.
The column type becomes a navigational and ownership tool
within the space


Site plan showing the four linkages - the courtroom, the library and archives, exhibition hall and auditorium around which the different
NGOs are organised depending on their type


1. Courtroom with the judges courtyard in the

rear. (image: rendering of proposal for the ICC by
Larsen Hammer Schmitt Architects)

2. Library and archives in the atrium of the ICC.

(image: Seattle Public Libary by OMA)

3. Exhibition hall in the extension of the townhall. (image: Neuegallerie)

4. Auditorium in the gutted ground floor of the

ministry of justice (image: Wyly theatre OMA)



Site plan showing the different ways that NGOs cluster creating a variety of spaces within the forum


1. NGOs clustered to create a discreet

corner threshold in front of the library for

2. NGOs clustered to create an open rectangular space at the threshold of the ICC
for interviews and public meetings

3. NGOs clustered to generate a debating

theatre near the auditorium

4. NGOs clustered to create a space for

viewing near the exhibition hall











+2.25 +1.5









































1. Judges courtyard
2. Defence entrance
3. Courtroom
4. Prosecutor and court administration entrance
5. Archives
6. Reading Room and library
7. Secure entrance to the ICC
8. Informal threshold of the ICC
9. Lift lobby for the ministry of justice
10. Auditorium
11. Exhibition hall owned by the townhall (city)
12. The existing atrium of the town hall




Small <10
2 level
Meeting room and workspace

Medium upto 50
3 level
foyer, meeting rooms and workspace

Large upto 100

3 level
foyer, meeting rooms and workspace

Typical plans for the three sizes of the NGOs.

Salle des pas perdues of the International Criminal Court

Zoom of the section showing the different volumes when the three institutions meet


Section through the interntional criminal court and the Ministry of Justice to show the overall scale of the forum within the buildings

external atrium by the city

gutted ground below the ministry of justice



THE post-civic condition:

civic 2.0

The International Criminal Court

has transformed The Hague.
Though it is a unique institution
and renders The Hague as a special
case, the phenomenon seen in the
city is perceived across the world.
Multinational corporations, embassies,
nongovernmental organisations
and branches of intergovernmental
organisations create a post-national
constellation that is ubiquitous. Geneva,
Nairobi, Singapore, New Delhi, Lyon
are some examples of cities that are
seeing an increase in this constellation.
It challenges existing ideas of civic
institutions and their role in a city.
This is evident in recently designed
and built civic institutions, like the
Stadskantoor in Rotterdam by OMA and
the Supreme Court in The Hague by
Claus Kaan Architecten. Both projects
have a public threshold that has become
a nostalgic gesture and that which has
two translations - the commercial space
or the lobby. With the Stadskantoor
this threshold is being reprogrammed
as a commercial space while the salle
des pas perdues in the Supreme Court
is a generic lobby viewed from the city
through a windowpane rather than
a space that creates a public. This is
because, the composition of the postnational city does not have a relationship
with traditional civic institutions. The
contemporary city demands a postnational forum centred on a relationship
between civic and international
institutions. To Create a relationship
between these institutions, the way that
these institutions generate an urban
function needs to be reframed within
this contemporary condition.
To acknowledge and identify this condition
should it be called post-civic, which suggests

a transition between a traditional form of

the civic and the generation of a new type of
civic (civic 2.0)?
The post-national forum is predicated
on identification and organisation of
a post-national constituency and this
generates an urban function for both
civic and international institutions. The
research attempted to identify NGOs as
a constituency of this public but they
are not the only one. Research institutes,
foundations, cultural institutes like the
Goethe institute and the British Council,
lobbyists, policy institutes are all part of
this constituency. This constituency is a
powerful geopolitical agent. Designing
post-national fora in cities is urgent
and a way to organise a public that
complements the changing political
structure one where international,
national and local politics is intimately
How are civic institutions being transformed
in this post-civic condition?
A slow mutation of civic institutions
is already evident in cities. The Hague
introduced a space in its town hall that
responds to international organisations
and has hosted exhibitions and
conferences to bridge the relationship
between who is traditionally considered
the public of the city and the growing
international constituency. The town
hall is not the only civic institution that
has had to respond to this constellation.
With universal jurisdiction, states are
able to try criminals irrespective of
where the crime was committed or the
nationality of the perpetrator this
transforms the role of a national court
and demands a different way of thinking
about how the law court is structured as


an institution in the city.

What is the role of the centre (the traditional
site of the civic forum) in the post-civic
In The Hague, the research identified
a tension in the city while planning
for international institutions. The
transnational centre versus the
international zone provided two distinct
ways that a city could treat international
institutions. The former created a larger
geopolitical entity while the latter was
more traditional point of view that saw
the city as an autonomous entity with a
defined boundary exterior to its regional
and national context.
A post-civic condition questions the idea
of the latter especially in the context of
Europe where clear boundaries between
nations have been systematically
dismantled in the last decade. The centre
of the city in this research acquires
a new role within this transnational
planning strategy because of its existing
infrastructural network. The BeNeLux
territory is a powerful geopolitical space.
The three cities The Hague, Brussels
and Luxembourg City have between
them 380 NGOs, an approximate count
of 32 IGOs (headquarters and branches),
a transnational institution (the BeNeLux
union) and a supranational institution
(The EU). Brussels is home to around
30,000 international lobbyists, second
to Washington D.C. The post-national
constellation has transformed the region
and the relationship between the cities
in the region.
How can cities negotiate between their local,
national and post-national contexts?

From Palace to Headquarters: Le Corbusier and the IGO type


Transnational Urbanism: Interview with Floris Alkemade


Bibliography 82


from palace to headquarters:

le corbusier and the igo type

Typological transformation
1927: The League of Nations announces
an international architectural
competition for a Palace for the
institution. The word, palace is an
archaic word to use even in this time,
one from the past associated with
territory and empires. The United
Nations prefers to use permanent
headquarters to describe its institution
and the International Criminal Court,
permanent premises suggestive of
temporality1, growth and multiplicity.
The journey from a palace to a
headquarter traces the development
of the three fundamental attributes;
extraterritoriality, the political
spectacle and representation that have
individually been developed and come
together to define the architectural type
of an international organisation. The
United Nations headquarters is the last
attempt in architecture where these
qualities were investigated, questioned
or reinvented, fossilising them as dogma.
A young Le Corbusier and Pierre
Jenneret, along with 377 other
participants submit an entry for the
competition. The jury disqualifies
their proposal, they did not submit
original drawings but copies. The
vocal protests across the European
modernist architectural community,
America is not a member state of
the League of Nations, against the
decision of the jury encourages Le
Corbusier.2 He extensively documents
his submission and his ideas, earning a
reputation as an architectural expert
on internationalism. His design
for the League of Nations is a clear
diagram of the relationship between
the two main functional components

of the organisation3, the quotidian

bureaucratic offices for the secretariat
and the intermittent representative
theatre for the assembly. Le Corbusier
spends the next 20 years developing
and honing this diagram, tweaking
elements with each iteration, developing
a vocabulary that is unique to
international organisations.
Extraterritoriality and the urban form
1928: Paul Otlet meets Le Corbusier and
commissions him as the architect for the
Cit Mondiale. Otlet is a Belgian lawyer,
in his 20s in the 1890s when Belgium
and the Netherlands are hosting grand
international events, the world fair and
the first peace conference. These events
inspire his vision for internationalism
and come together in his later ideas for
the Cit Mondiale. In 1910, Paul Otlet
founded the Union of International
Associations with Henri Fontaine. When
the League of Nations, is formalised
at the Peace Conference in Paris that
ended WWI, he formulates the statute
for the organisation.4 The constitution of
the League of Nations includes a role for
international associations. Years later, the
United Nations continues the tradition
began with the League of Nations
and extends the role for international
associations and organisations within
its constitution, creating a new category,
non-governmental organisations. The
architectural competition for the Palace
of the League of Nations provides an
ideal moment for the Cit Mondiale.
The city is the cultural consort to the
diplomatic agenda of the League of
Nations. It will have a world cultural
centre. a world library, a world museum,
a world archive, the world headquarters
for international associations and a
world university.


The projection of an urban form specific

to the functioning of an international
organisation has been in gestation
for a while since the formalisation of
the Permanent Court of Arbitration,
The Hague. Hendrik Christian
Anderson proposes The Centre for
World Communications in 1904 as an
abstract city form for internationalism.
K.P.C Bazel, the World Capital for
internationalism in The Hague in 1905,
and H.P.Berlage, revives this project
in 1915 as the Pantheon of Mankind.
Hendrik Christian Andersons proposal
is the most detailed and is published by
the Architectural Review in December
1919 in its special issue on peace
commemoration as a suggestion of an
urban form to accompany the League
of Nations and it becomes the point of
departure for the Cit Mondiale.5
The world city projects are strategies for
a transnational urban future; abstract
geometric forms that can be repeated
and stand out in their formal perfection
from their surrounding organic
urban fabric. They are deliberately
designed with a disregard for context
and specificity suggesting universal
internationalism. They are planned
around varied modes of communication
infrastructure, located close to but
distant enough from functioning second
tiered cities. Programmatically they
house headquarters for international
associations and businesses, centres
of knowledge with facilities for
collaboration and discussions between
a highly mobile knowledge society.
The essence of a world city is its
extraterritoriality, a legal definition
that enables a new order between
people culturally, intellectually and
politically and is the foundation

for an international public sphere.

Practically, constructing and populating
an entire city for the sole function of
internationalism is counterintuitive
to urban practice and the world cities
become part of urban history along
with the ideal cities envisioned in the

classificatory device reveals as much as

it hides.

Architectural history unfortunately

focuses on the drama around the
Mundaneum, the cultural centre of the
Cite Mondiale, and the metaphysical
symbolic quality of the Ziggurat like
form, exposing its possible origin, a
rendering by Hugh Ferriss for The
Solomon Reconstruction project by
Helme and Corbett in New York.6
Within this master plan there is a small
building for the headquarters of the
Union of International Associations,
an opportunity for Le Corbusier to
continue to develop the forms that he
set out to articulate with the League of
Nations and that would soon evolve into
his project for the Palace of the Soviets.

In the Palace of the League of Nations,

it is Hannes Meyers proposal that
grasps the essence of the international
organisation as a political theatre
and different users are guided along
different paths from the entrance of
the complex while they are still in
their automobiles. Within Meyers
proposal circulation is a crude device
with numerous elevators and brutal
segmentation of the architectural
mass.8 In the Palace of the Soviets,
Corbusier develops circulation into
a three dimensional architectural
language weaving through the building
at multiple levels, connecting and
disconnecting effortlessly. Le Corbusier
does not win the competition, but is
more accepting of this loss, restricting
his comments to a sarcastic observation
of the political character of Russia,
reasonable in the context of the

The Political Spectacle and the

classificatory device

Representation: the tower and the


1931: Le Corbusier is invited to submit

a proposal for the Palace of the Soviets,
the communist response to the League
of Nations. The Palace of the Soviets is
a political meeting place, a theatre in
essence. The programme is a series of
auditoriums and public platforms for
the mega spectacle of the Soviet State.
Le Corbusier develops some of the ideas
that he began with the assembly in the
League of Nations without the burden
of the office building, allowing him to
focus on the structural organisation
of the political theatre. The design is a
linear arrangement of meeting spaces
closed on either end by formal assembly
halls with their ancillary functions. The
parti is a series of inclined planes that
moves different actors, ambassadors,
foreign press, Soviet press, actors and
spectators within the large complex
to their rightful places within the
theatrical spectacle.7 Circulation, as a

1946: Le Corbusier is nominated by

the French government as a delegate
in an international team to design the
headquarters of the United Nations
in New York; after World War 2 the
United States of America was much
stronger than any of its European allies.
Le Corbusier, with the team develops
a brief for the United Nations HQ.
The programme requires a site that
is three times the size of Manhattan.10
A gift by the Rockefeller foundation,
allows the UN to buy a property by
the East River which is 17 times
smaller than the area Le Corbusier
envisages. This demands a change to
the programme, architectural language
and to extraterritoriality to suit a dense
urban environment. Corbusier alters
the programme, using the opportunity
to improvise his proposals for The
Radiant city: a vertical city that would
tame and order Manhattan.11 This gives
him an opportunity to resolve the


secretariat. New York provides the most

fortuitous environment, Le Corbusier is
surrounded by architectural experiments
for the most efficacious workspaces.
Extraterritoriality is morphed into
clauses of urban regulations, zoning
restrictions, jurisdiction delineation
and property rights,12 beginning a legal
precedent that accompanies the siting of
international organisations.
It could only be in New York that the
resolution of the secretariat as a tower
could become a reality so effortlessly
and elegantly. The representation
of the international organisations
is resolved, the vertical office tower
juxtaposed by the horizontal political
theatre, the bureaucratic machine
against the diplomatic machine, the
automonument13 balanced against the
symbolic. The two elements create the
tension of representation. Le Corbusier
leaves the project, and Wallace Harrison
is left to rationalise the construction
of the project to meet technical and
bureaucratic requirements.
Parenthesis: In 1931, Boris Iofan,
a Ukrainian architect wins the
competition for the Palace of the Soviets
predating the theatre-tower of the
United Nations headquarters by two
decades. The building is continuously
revised till Stalins death and then it
dies with its patron.
Acceptance of the Precedent
1958: The UNESCO headquarters in
Paris is completed by an international
architectural team, Pier Luigi Nervi,
Bernard Zehrfuss and Marcel Breuer
under the guidance of an international
modernist architectural committee. Le
Corbusier is involved as the French
delegate, similar to his role in the
United Nations but in this project he
plays a very subdued role. The complex
is a Y shaped secretariat, that reflects the
urban form of Place de Fontenoy and
a crafted concrete conference theatre
connected by the salle pas de perdus
and the main entrance lobby of the

organisation. The Y shape is a functional

diagram that expresses the different
departments of the organisation.14
The UNESCO headquarters does not
further develop any of the elements
that define the type for international
organisations, preferring to focus on
the structural and material language
of the architecture. It is an important
milestone within the discipline as it
overtly accepts the series that began
with the League of Nations and
ended with the UN headquarters
as a precedent for international

1 Le Corbusier, UN Headquarters, (New York, Lotus Press,
1947), p.1
2 Le Corbusier, Louevre Complte 1910-1929, (Zurich, Les
ditions darchitecture, 1964)
3 Kenneth Frampton, The Humanitarian vs the Utilitarian
Ideal, Architectural Design, March 1968
4 Le Corbusier, In Defense of Architecture in Oppositions
Reader, (Princeton Press, 1993)
5 Stanislaus Von Moos, Public Buildings, Elements of a
6 ibid
7 Kenneth Frampton, Le Corbusiers designs for the
League of Nations, the Centrosoyus and the Palace of the
Soviets 1926 - 1931 in Essays, ed by H. Allen Brooks
8 Kenneth Frampton, The Humanitarian vs the Utilitarian
Ideal, Architectural Design, March 1968
9 Stanislaus Von Moos, Public Buildings, Elements of a
10 Le Corbusier, UN Headquarters, (New York, Lotus Press,
1947), p.10
11 Le Corbusier, Louevre Complte 1938 - 1946, (Zurich, Les
ditions darchitecture, 1964)
12 Report to the general assembly of the United Nations
by the secretary-general on the Permanent Headquarters
of the United Nations (United Nations Publications 1947)
13 Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York, (New York, Monacelli, 1978)
14 Francoise Choay, Introduction, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, (Germany, 1958)


transnational urbanism:
interview with floris alkemade

Floris Alkemade joins OMA in 1989 and

becomes the director of Architecture and
urban design in 1998 and a partner in
2001. In 2008 he leaves and starts his own
practice, Floris Alkemade Architect. Using
architect in the singular is a deliberate
choice. Floris does not employ anybody.
When he wins a project, he taps into his
network and sets up a collaboration with
an architectural practice for the duration
of the project. Currently he works inbetween The Netherlands, Brussels and
Paris. It is his involvement in the transadministrative urban studies around The
Hague that attracts me to interview him
on 22nd September 2014, at the cafe of
the Kaaitheatre in Brussels. The recurring
themes in his work and his way of working
are collaboration, in-between and
NG: I would like to start with the urban
studies for The Hague. There are four
studies, you were in charge of three of
them, Binckhorst, Delta Metropool and
Prins Clausplein. I would like to talk
about the relationship between the four
studies. They were commissioned by
different clients?
FA: Yes they have different clients, but
are based on a single vision on how the
city should develop. I think that there are
some maps here, (opening the Stroom
gallery exhibition catalogue) that I can
use. (looking at Prins Clausplein), there
are different cities near The Hague,
like Delft, Zoetermeer and Leiden, they
are expanding. There is a centre, and a
periphery. The question is: What happens
when the peripheries overlap. We realised
that the gravity point is shifting away from
the historic city centre and is somewhere in
between all the centres.

NG: How does this relate to the Delta

Metropool study?
FA: (Drawing) This is Holland, Amsterdam
is in the North, which is like London or
Paris: a metropolitan area that incorporates
other cities around it into one dominant,
radially expanding city. In the South
you have The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft,
Dordrecht. None of them have the same
dominance that Amsterdam does. Here (in
the South) it is more logical to explore the
freedom that one does have. The spaces
in-between the cities become spaces that
we focus on to create programmes and this
is realised as a field metropolis. The Prins
Clausplein is a further elaboration of one of
these in-between spaces.
NG: They are all separate pieces of a
large puzzle. Did you know that at the
FA: It is kind of intuition that you have.
In the office we did a project Pointcity/
Southcity. There the question is: what
are the potentials that are released if
you assume a density of Manhattan and
concentrate the entire Dutch population in
a single point in the country? Density is the
key to understanding urban systems. We are
witnessing a decrease in density in Holland
and in Europe, maybe with the exception
of London and Paris. The field condition,
proposed in Delta Metropool is a reversal
of that idea where instead of building at
the density of Manhattan, we question the
potential of a low density condition.
NG: These studies are different
possibilities that you are evaluating.
What is the role of these studies in the
urban discipline?


FA: It starts a new way of thinking. In Delta

Metropool, we had to work with the ring
city as they call it, the Randstad. Essentially
it is a system with Amsterdam, The Hague,
Rotterdam and Utrecht, and the in-between
cities. In a system where Amsterdam is such
a dominant player, and the in-between is
really fragile, it does not make sense. We
said that it is more a North and a South
wing, which then was a new notion. Today
it is the description that is being used within
politics. By bringing in the logic of the
economics of the public transport system we
made it a rational proposal that could be
leveraged in discussions.
The aim is to test different hypothesis.
Trying to imagine different directions. It is
always every small city planning its own
periphery, its own infrastructure, its own
circulation as if there is not a neighbouring
city doing exactly the same thing. We are
trying to question what it means if these
independent systems start to collaborate.
Another notion we are interested in is
that, the historical centre however small
it is, is always evaluated as our identity.
Paris: beautiful centre, and then first ring
around it with mediocre architecture. How
can you accept such a notion? Something
from another age defining our identity and
everything done by our generation in the
periphery with low budget, low architecture,
low ambition. Why not value this in the
same way that you value the centre, give it
the same attention, the same importance.
This is the same logic. Highways, industries
in a way are forming a new centre, treat it
in that way, treat it with a kind of reflection,
rather than treating it like it is the backside
of everything. It is also a reflection of what
our generation is adding to such a system.
It is very intriguing to work with something
where everything is not dependent on
one core. You can develop new cores, with

modern identities, modern architecture and

modern programmes - The questions of
today in the urban tissue.
NG: The studies demand an element of
administrative restructuring. How does
it go forward with government agencies?
Who commissions these projects?
FA: For the Delta Metropool it was the
Rijksbouwmeister. He is an architect who
is responsible for the definition of building
policies in the Netherlands. He formulated
the question and invited four or five
agencies, we were one of them. They asked
us to look at the Randstad and we developed
the Delta Metropool. You cannot really
implement such a scheme. We presented the
plan in different forms. For one presentation
we invited all the mayors and aldermen of
the cities within the scheme, and presented
it. They loved it and they all said that it is
impossible. That has to do with the fact that
you cannot ask politicians to give up power.
They all have power in their own limited
circle and they realise that the only way
that such a system will work, no matter how
logical it is, is by giving up power. Thats not
what politicians do.
NG: This is a similar problem between
national and international. The national
system is not ready to give up their
power to transnational institutions.
FA: In the Eurocore study, we used night
pictures taken by satellites. You can identify
London, Paris, Berlin and Milan. In
between there is this strange form which is
a fusion of the Randstad with Amsterdam,
Lille and the Rurh Valley in Germany. This
blurry area is actually a new metropolitan
area, but it is part of three, maybe four
countries - France, Holland, Germany and
Belgium. No one ever plans on this scale.
Yet something is growing there which
takes shape. So we made a part of the
investigation to see what characteristics
it develops, It is a metropolitan area but
it lacks density but it has all the other
characteristics. We enjoy studies like this.
NG: It becomes a mode of practice?
Do you think that there is more scope

for these studies now that cities have

become more interesting for the world
and the economic scope of cities is
FA: I think so. It also has to do with the
fact that the building economy is almost at
a standstill. Politicians feel more at ease
with long term visions. Last year I did a
study for Brabant Stad. which is a region in
South Netherlands. It is a big scale project
for an entire province. There are five big
cities and many small communities. In the
study we took the water system as a base
for the study. We found these beautiful maps
from the 16 century. There were no roads,
only rivers and settlements along the river
in these maps. We studied them. We erased
all infrastructure, left all the settlements
and the water systems. With this action you
discuss things differently. We wont look at
the infrastructure, we left out the highways.
It is something that helps to look at an area
in a different way. We are easily triggered
to recognise same patterns. By taking out
layers, which no longer reconnect to the
known pattern, it opens up new possibilities.
All of a sudden individual cities become less
interesting. We talked to ecologists about
new infiltration systems. We talked with
business men about new uses for canals.
All of a sudden water plays a role in every
reflection. Instead of many disconnected
individual attempts you start to combine
them. That is the interesting thing about
larger scales. You can really work with it
without forcing people to act immediately.
This gives them a possibility to participate
without trying to do something. We can give
it a next go with some pilot projects with
people who see it as an opportunity.
NG: How do you translate it across the
scales. You work from architecture to the
urban to the regional scale.
FA: We did here. The cities were of course
important, so we created 5 zooms, where
we explored the possibilities we developed
as a system within each of these zooms. We
start to recompose their own logic. We made
illustrations of how such a strategy could
work in different conditions, We develop
some principles. Some had to do with the


quality of the water, because the quality of

the water in canals is different from that
in the rivers. Some had to do with the way
that you evacuate water in the wet season
and add water in the dry season. Where to
put farms and industries. For each zoom we
apply a series of logics that we think are
We also realised that this study needs to be
seen as a project. We made a fabric which
is 3m high and 12m wide. Enormous. You
hardly ever print a plan 12m long. This
being fabric it was really nicely made,
everybody could recognise their own house
because it has a resolution, which is really
amazing. People walk around it and
participate within it. We displayed it at the
Kunsthalle in Rotterdam, it was part of
the biennale exhibition. Now the tapestry
is going to travel so it will be exhibited for
some time in each of the five cities. Later it
will be permanently displayed in an office
for the province. That is a really powerful
tool to get the message through. This is
something that becomes more permanent.
The interview documented here is incomplete and edited

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Architectural Project features in journals:

Feature: Architecture in the Netherlands 2000-2011, Souterrain: Tram Tunnel - OMA - The
Hague Architecture and Urbanism (A+U), Jan 2012
Feature: Architecture in Spain and Portugal 2000-2013, David Chipperfield Architects and
b720 Arquitectos - City of Justice, Barcelona and LHospitalet Architecture and Urbanism (A+U),
Jan 2014
Feature: Bernard Tschumi, Spuimarkt, GA Document 91, (GA International, 2006)
Feature: Law Courts Districts in Barcelona, Detail no. 4, 2011
Workshop Publications:
Indesem 87, International Design Seminar (Delftse Universitaire Pers, 1988)
White Papers:
A report by The American Institute of Architects, 21st century Embassy task Force, Design for
Diplomacy, 2009
Hocking, Brian, Jan Melissen, Shaun Riordan and Paul Sharp, Futures for diplomacy:
Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century, (Netherlands: Institute of International Relations,
Clingendael, 2012)
Documentaries and Movies:
The International Criminal Court, documentary by Marcus Vetter and Michele Gentile
The Recokning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court by POV
Watchers of the Sky directed by Edet Berzberg