There is currently no single existing building that fulfils the complete requirements of the ICC with regards to space, functionality, the necessary specialist facilities, security and safety requirements.
The main ARC building for example contains just over 800 workstations, with the remaining 300 workstations spread over an additional 2 buildings. Two small courtrooms were added to the existing ARC office building, while the parking garage of the building was converted into the waiting areas and a press centre. There is a lack of waiting rooms, rooms for witnesses and victims and the public galleries have limited capacity. There also exists no capacity to add any further office space or Courtrooms in the future as the workload of the court continues to increase.
Being housed in 3 separate buildings also means that a number of sections of the court are located remotely from each other, meaning some facilities and tasks are duplicated in the individual buildings (for example catering facilities, reprographic facilities, etc). Efficiencies in both operation and communication will be made by locating the entire court within the same purpose designed building. As the ICC is a permanent institution in the long term it is more cost effective to own its headquarters rather than to continue to rent space into the future.
The establishment of the ICC in The Hague is an important step for the development of The Hague as the International City of Peace and Justice. Besides ICC, also the International Court of Justice, ICTY, Lebanon Tribunal, OPCW, Europol and Eurojust are based in The Hague. It underlines The Netherlands’ focus on promotion of peace and justice by hosting international organisations in general and the ICC in particular.
Since 1998 The Hague local authorities and the Government Buildings Agency have surveyed various possible ICC locations. They looked for an accessible urban site with the correct spatial characteristics. The Alexanderkazerne site is an ideal location in many ways:
- it is situated close to the detention centre for persons suspected or convicted of international crimes;
- it is close to major roads;
- it is part of the International Zone of The Hague;
- it offers a large site which allows for longer distances for security measurements, integrated in the landscape.
- Selection of the architect: 2009
- Design phase: Early 2010 - Autumn 2011
- Tendering and contracting: second half of 2011 - Autumn 2012
- Construction start: End 2012
- Construction completion: September 2015
- Ready for use: December 2015
The main characteristics of the new premises are the following:
- Sculptural composition of square buildings, which serves as a very impressive and interesting architectural gesture and a great contribution to the city with an attractive integration into the landscape.
- A compact building with a small footprint, minimising the land use and return the landscape to the city; the sky and horizon become an integrated part of the architectural composition.
- Courtroom tower located in the centre of the design
- Office buildings built on a common basis
- Public area on the ground floor with gardens and a mirror pool
- Common area for staff on first floor
- Landscape is ingeniously used for security
- Transparent building
- Sustainable building: low energy, green roofs, water management, ecological corridor, careful landscaping
The design of schmidt hammer lassen met all the ICC criteria, such as functionality, design, sustainability and costs. schmidt hammer lassen architects is a Danish company. It was founded in 1986, it has 4 offices (Aarhus, Copenhagen, London and Shanghai) and 140 employees of 20 nationalities. schmidt hammer lassen architects is a very well equipped firm to take on projects such as the new ICC building and has proven its abilities in the past.
After a long, detailed procurement and assessment procedure which included numerous meetings with the 4 tendering companies, the decision was made to accept the highest quality and best value for money bid proposal of the 4 we received.
The construction contract was awarded to Courtys, a consortium of Visser & Smit Bouw / Boele & van Eesteren, who are part of the VolkerWessels Group. VolkerWessels is a Dutch group of companies with 16,000 employees in 125 operating companies and offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
In the Netherlands, the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (NCTb) is responsible for determining the level of threat. Consultations will then be held on the security measures to be taken. The security in public areas will be guaranteed by the Dutch government; the security for the site and building is up to the ICC.