You can’t complete a visit the Centre of the Hague without seeing this little gem of a building situated on the Buitenhof.
It’s a beautiful little kiosk designed by Hendrik Petrus (H.P.) Berlage, (1856-1934) one of The Netherlands most notable architects.
Berlage was a student of Gotfried Semper, who taught the renaissance style and held to the idea that the use of ornaments should not be a goal in itself.
Later, the works of Viollet-le-Duc made Berlage see that a historic style should not be copied when designing a modern building. As a result he started to look for a new rational style, using geometrical plans and geometrical shapes.
Berlage was influenced by the Neo-Romanesque brickwork architecture of Henry Hobson Richardson and the combination of iron and brick in his structures.
Together they believed that elements of the ironwork in construction need not be hidden but could become part of the overall style of the building, so sometimes these elements are made decorative but often they stand just as part of the structure without being covered or disguised.
Considered the “Father of Modern architecture” in the Netherlands and the intermediary between the Traditionalists and the Modernists, Berlage’s theories inspired most Dutch architectural groups of the 1920s.
Important buildings that he designed include: the St. Hubertus section of the Kröller-Müller Museum, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (City Council Museum the Hague), the Amsterdam Commodities Exchange, the plan for extension of Amsterdam, the ‘Plan Zuid’ or ‘Plan Berlage’ and the Berlage brug (bridge) in Amsterdam.
The little kiosk was built on the Buitenhof in the 1920′s when the area was being renovated, and was designed in partnership with P. Black.
Together the pair worked in a compact design of two concentric octagons and in 1924 it opened to sell flowers, magazines and newspapers on it’s street level and a ladies restroom on the underground level. The design of the dome allowed light into the ladies restroom below ground.
There was also apparently an additional gent’s urinal on the other side of it but information on The Hague’s website page http://www.denhaag.nl/home/bewoners/to/Kiosk-Berlage.htm tells me this has been closed since 1963.
In 2005 the berlage kiosk had it’s dome painted white whilst being renovated, but this changed it’s look so dramatically that there was a public outcry. Both public opinion and the fact that the building also enjoys Monument (listed building) status, saw the Berlage roof quickly returned to it’s characteristic grey colour that so well suits it’s design.
I’ve taken these photos of it at various times of the year, when it was open and when it was closed… I’m sure that one day when I’m back on my walking tours again, there are sure to be more photos to take of it in the future too, because I simply can’t resist this photogenic little building.
Today the kiosk houses a little café, so it’s possible to sit at one of the outside tables in the Buitenhof with a cup of tea or coffee and watch the trams, and people go by…
Berlage / Buitenhof 19 / 2513 AG / Den Haag