For a long time, the Boekhorststraat was a classic shopping street with a certain allure. This was where the well-to-do middle class was found, in its “broeken-huizen” (“trouser houses”) and shops for carpets, curtains, smoking articles, lamps, beds and mattresses and much more. This changed in the 1960s. The surrounding area deteriorated and Boekhorststraat was dragged along in this negative spiral. The classic family shops quickly gave way to a variety of sex and coffee shops.
Recently, however, the street has seen a turnaround. Boekhorststraat has been “rediscovered” as a trendy area by young urbanists. The coffee shop is pouring coffee again, the porn DVDs have been replaced by vinyl LPs, the shawarma tent has become a hip vegan lunchroom and in the former “trouser-house”, the trendy Treehouse Club has been established. As a result, the Boekhorststraat offers a hip and trendy atmosphere, as a complement to the large chains in the Grote Marktstraat and Spuistraat. As a consequence, the street also requires a facelift. On the one hand, it should provide room for the expression of its new character, on the other hand it should be an accessible part of the wider city centre of The Hague. And, it should be a sustainable street.
In the post-war period, Boekhorststraat became a meeting place and a busy infrastructural line. Roads widened, sidewalks narrowed, and parking became more important than street life. But now, Boekhorststraat’s rediscovery as a residential area affects the layout of public space. In order to enhance this transformational process, the municipality asked BoschSlabbers to update its public space. In consultation with the street’s entrepreneurs, we developed a design that invites people to linger in the street, a design based on the human scale instead of the car. It makes the street a greener, healthier place, and increases feelings of safety.
In the post-war period, Boekhorststraat became a meeting area and a busy infrastructural line. Roads widened, sidewalks narrowed, and parking became more important than street life. In the new situation, the narrow profile between the facades was smartly redesigned to restore high-quality living space to the street. Problems have been turned into opportunities. The use of the sunny side of the street for terraces and greenery, a restrained landscaping to create a toned-down profile, and less parking space to make room for street life and breathing space.
In addition, a display strip was added along the facades, for individual expressions such as billboards and small terraces. All functional parts of the street, such as parking, bicycle stands, trash cans, terraces and benches, are organized in an additional strip. This clears up the profile, making it legible for users. The strip has also created space for trees, to make the street more attractive and improve its microclimate. Residual space was used to create a recognizable and green climate garden in a central position. Everything in the street’s new landscaping works together to invite visitors to spend more time in Boekhorststraat.
Title: Reconstruction Boekhorststraat
Location: Den Haag, NL
Size: 400 m
Client: Municipality of Den Haag
Type: Design plan, sketch and provisional design
Image credits: BoschSlabbers
Project code: bs-S 17-30