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21. XYZ Dance and Music Center

Client: Municipality of The Hague
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
Program: Theater, concert hall, music school, offices, commercial
Area: 48.000m² / 515.000 sf
Status: Competition Finalist in 2010, collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro



The new Dance and Music Center will be the hub of cultural, intellectual and social life in the city of The Hague in the Netherlands. It merges the public realm and a community of artists and students within a lyrical, state-of-the-art facility that is a model of environmental sustainability.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to house multiple performance venues, this proposed organizational strategy maximizes synergies between the specific programs and populations of the building and the civic space of the city. In the process, conventional theater planning is turned upside-down and inside-out. Typically, the public sequence begins with a lobby off the street that acts as a buffer between city and theater space, while backstage and back-of-house support spaces are discretely hidden from public view. XYZ stacks the public performance venues and orients them with backstage and technical support spaces hinging at a void in the center of the site. This vertical technical atrium, the “Tectrium”—acts as a common backstage that effectively turns the theater experience inside-out, making available to the public certain activities of the back-of-house. Meanwhile, the civic space of the plaza is extended to become the ground level of the building, and is funneled into an elevated horizontal landscape, the “Superlobby,” that serves as a single central lobby for all theaters.