Filling in the gaps!

Attentive locals roaming our Statenkwartier will notice new houses are popping up filling in the gaps between the existing building blocks. One by one, almost unnoticed. The architecture fits into the overall image of the street, you get the impression these houses have been there all the time. What is going on here? The Hague is short on housing and the municipal policy is to build extra housing in existing neighborhoods, recently also seen in the protected city sites of Statenkwartier and Duinoord. Owners of garage boxes or other low-rise buildings between the building blocks seize the opportunity to demolish them and replace them with new three-storey houses or apartments. At first sight, it is an improvement when a neglected and vacant warehouse or garage box is replaced by a well-designed new building.

Van Boetzelaerlaan: well-designed new-built housing on top of former garage boxes, 2018. © Marja Langenberg

But be aware: as regards urban planning it is often a deterioration if the open space between the blocks diminishes and the original profile of the street gets narrower. When the Statenkwartier was designed and built, the aim was to emphasize the rural character of the new neighborhood in the dunes by allowing light and air by building open building blocks instead of traditional closed building blocks. The designated use and the permitted heights -and more- of all the buildings in the Statenkwartier are specified in the current zoning plan. If the owner goes for a different use or a higher building he needs a special municipal permit. However, off late the municipality is quite easy-going in granting exemptions.

Van Beverningkstraat,
Willem de Zwijgerlaan

At the moment a proposal has been submitted for the replacement of the Kettenis garage boxes annex workshop with new-build apartments in the Van Beverningkstraat on the corner of the Willem de Zwijgerlaan. This is against the destinated use and height in the zoning plan. Let us remain alert to this development. BAS will ask the municipality about the criteria for granting permits to replace these low buildings by three-storey housing blocks.

Van Beverningkstraat : number 103 with new-built housing on top of a former workshop (2016) and the Kettenis Garage at number 101 © Marja Langenberg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *