• Quadraat Invest b.v.
  • Haarlem
  • NL
  • 1997-2000

The project concerns the conversion of a prominent monument, former home of the famous Dutch etcher Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708), on a canal in the city of Haarlem. Historical Reflections allude to the considerations involved with the spatial transformation of a state monument into commercial offices.

The project introduces a new monumental infrastructure throughout the building, which spatially defines and opens up the separated office spaces. This continuous infrastructure fits perfectly into the existing building, but is radically materialized by chalked oak, sandblasted glass and colorful shining panels: Appearing as something casual, as though it was always there, but at the same time as something self-contained and new. The partition of newly clad walls and floors refers to found traces of built history, like a spatial diagram of historical stratification, distorting the perspective of the long hallways. Adjacent spaces are only revealed by a vague colorful shine through the panels on the wall. Like Alice in Wonderland one pushes the walls to enter.

Color rules the building! Four different colors, each appearing in three different intensities, systematically structure identity and orientation of different spaces on different floors. The basement, by its function the center of the building, remains almost white: Only the painted concrete floor underneath ones feet remind of the offices above. The facade remains unaffected, fitting taciturnly in a row of other monumental canal houses. Only hints of color shimmering through the windows reveal the interior transformation.