When I first visited the site of the project, the Binckhorst in The Hague, I noticed the scatteredness of the place. Everything is disconnected and hard to be reached by foot or bicycle. In fact, most functions are oriented to cars, trucks, and industrial machines. What is particularly interesting, however, is that there are a number of hidden activities. Especially in the southern part, the Binckhaven, there are many creative places to discover, for example artists at work in their studios or the first indoor surf pool in Europe. In my eyes, it is a shame that most people only see these places passing by on Binckhorstlaan and few take the time to explore Binckhorst. At the moment, many places are being demolished and replaced with high-rise buildings for residential use. While I agree that it is necessary to build a dense residential neighbourhood to meet the high housing demand in the Hague, a place to gather should be provided from an early stage to create an attractive and safe environment for these new residents. Otherwise, there is a risk that they will be isolated in their homes, leading to loneliness and an anonymous and boring neighbourhood. In the “Music district“ people can connect over music by practising their own music, performing in front of neighbours and friends, and going to concerts together. The spaces around the buildings are conceptualized as an integral part of the design, resulting in a mix of different urban moods in the interstitial spaces, such as a lively street, a recreational waterside boulevard, a calm inner courtyard, and a plaza for outdoor events and gathering. Therefore, the building is not monofunctional as a concert venue but serves as a public meeting space with multiple shared spaces indoors and outdoors. This will lead to a future-proof activation of the neighbourhood and a resilient community.
The Music District is located at the entrance of the Binckhaven. By building bridges over to the other canal side, the existing activities there will become accessible for pedestrians and bicycles. Combined with new functions, and several other cultural districts, the music district will form the “Cultural Hub Binckhaven”, for which it is the catalyst. By connecting to an existing building, I preserve the current industrial character of today's Binckhorst but create a completely new identity, with an orientation to human scale instead of machines. This is unique to Binckhorst and could be applied elsewhere to realize liveable neighbourhoods in former industrial areas that can be found in many European cities. With the right mix of uses, these areas have great potential to become lively and active centres for the city's residents. My research presents strategies to successfully achieve these goals by introducing music as a medium for forming identity and culture. The identified factors can be used for designing a music building that activates the community and public life in a sustainable way, also applicable in a wider scientific context. As a result, it will be possible to counteract anonymity in a densely populated area, strengthen a new neighbourhood, and provide spaces for everyone.