Project Description

Den Elzen Car Repair, Den Haag

Location: Den Haag
Year: 2020 – 2023
Area: 840 m2
Status: under contruction
Client: ABS Autoherstel Den Elzen
Team: Remko Remijnse, Joep van Prooijen, Agnese Argenti, Cristina Barbalat, Emanuele Saracino

ABS Autoherstel Den Elzen is a successful auto-repair company whose headquarter is based in Den Haag in a very special building: an historical industrial building built in the 1955 to host an oxygen factory. The whole volume is functional for this purpose:
– for the stock of the oxygen they needed big silo-tanks, allocated in the volume with the use of very massive and heavy-duty supporting beams and explosion-proof concrete walls. The state of art for that time.
– for the waste resulting from oxygen production they needed tall chimneys characterizing even more the architecture
The client wanted the building to be, not just a repair shop, but a showcase of the company, with a reception, a waiting area for the clients dropping in/out their cars, offices, meeting spaces, canteen, making it the representative and administrative center.

The original volume feels very massive and, at the same time, elegant. In the nineties the building changed destination and it was completely transformed, adding a huge warehouse in the back and closing/covering some of the big windows and making an intermediate floor, creating a secondary entrance on the side of the building.

The new functional program required many new functions and divisions, so 2by4 used the guideline of making all new interventions recognizable and interfering the least possible with the original architecture. The result was a design where minimalistic look mixes with industrial accents: office spaces and meeting rooms are into glass and metal boxes, toilets are integrated in hidden blocks, reception and customer’s waiting area at the ground floor are divided from the heavy work spaces, a new metal spiral staircase connects ground floor and first floor, common spaces are very open, provided with full height, the new second floor appears very light since the volumes are all integrated in the lower part of the building, connected by metal grid bridges.

Being a repair shop the internal climate was very radical, so in the design great importance was given to energy efficiency and sound comfort in the building:
– very performing panels were placed against concrete walls in order to improve the insulation, to spread the heating system all over the building without making it visible and to provide a good protection against sound bouncing, a serious risk since it’s a 12m tall room with many surfaces made in glass or concrete;
– a system of industrial fans were placed on the top ceiling so it could push down the warm air.
– the office spaces have very good energy performance, so the internal temperature can easily be maintained.