HAARLEM (NL) - The redevelopment of the Raaks area is one of the biggest city centre operations ever undertaken in Haarlem. Apart from a 1000-space underground car park, the project comprises a new cinema, municipal offices, dwellings, shops and restaurants.
In the heart of the planning area is Raaks Square, on which the entrance to the car park is located. Amidst the large-scale architecture of the cinema, the shops and a church (now a café), it is a modest little building. But at square level the seven-metre-high building is nevertheless a considerable presence, especially given the constant coming and going of car park users.
Architects Kraaijvanger Urbis designed the entrance pavilion as a glass cube, a sculptural object that at the same time endeavours to be inconspicuous. The challenge facing the ABT structural engineers was to retain the pure image of the all-glass cube, while satisfying building regulations with respect to stability, safety and durability.