Mecanoo architects present us with their cutting-edge transparent decision to envision the new Dance and Music centre in Den Haag, Netherland, as a tower with a glazed façade and escalators located within that façade. Unlike any other music hall, which resembles a closed box, the Dance and Music centre is aimed to display its spectacles, performances and its overall artistic theatricality to people, thus – inviting them in. The Hague’s meandering light tracks are designed to turn the cultural centre into a cluster of several hotspots. According to Mecanoo’s description of the lights, ‘These lines can also emit light mist and create a mysterious atmosphere.’ It seems that they are a part of and form landscape furniture in the form of benches and plantings. Mecanoo also sat that ‘the dancing lines wind toward Central Station, where they announce the city’s cultural heart’.

Arch2o-Transparency Dance and Music - Mecanoo architects (1)

Courtesy of  Mecanoo architects

Mecanoo have strived to achieve openness via a dynamic layout and composition and a welcoming atmosphere. What attract the audience are the spectacular lighting and the escalator access, which allows them to gain a different, more vibrant perspective of the building’s façade and the surrounding architecture in the area.

Arch2o-Transparency Dance and Music - Mecanoo architects (5)

Courtesy of  Mecanoo architects

Visitors are welcomed to become spectators of rehearsals in the Dance theatre and Conservatory. Through the two-storey entrance hall on the square, they can also experience the continuum of performing arts students coming in-coming out, adding to the sizzling creativity in the atmosphere.

Arch2o-Transparency Dance and Music - Mecanoo architects (3)

Courtesy of  Mecanoo architects

There is this sort of stacking of layers in the building and each layer is designated a different purpose. For example, the theatres and the Conservatory are raised, becoming a transparent plinth for restaurants and shops to be accommodated underneath.  Sixty metres above the square with the main entrance is the large concert hall of the Residence Orchestra.

In addition, the glazed façade is designed with a special occasion intention in mind: the façade of the main hall can slide up, revealing a large podium space both within the interior and exterior for performances and concerts to take place.

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Courtesy of  Mecanoo architects

The building offers a zig-zag-like transition and circulation for visitors. They can view the Conservatory’s theatre through the main entrance hall, and later on they can access the small concert hall, and further on – toward the large concert hall.

Of essential importance is the sustainability consideration Mecanoo have incorporated into the design scheme: there are wind turbines on the façade and power generation through hydro generators and a major factor is the minimization of energy consumption in the building. This makes the Dance and Music centre not only culturally inviting and significant, but also a major sustainability promoter.

This project is certainly a clear and visible, transparent communicator of both the arts, and the environment.

By Yoana Chepisheva

Courtesy of  Mecanoo architects

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