New Babylon is the result of a transformation from a closed and introverted 1970s building into a 21st-century, high-rise cityscape, seamlessly integrating prime work and living space with a vibrant cityscape and connecting the building’s users and an ever-growing international community. Designed by MVSA, the Babylon renovation project began in 2003 when the team were commissioned to redesign and extend the existing Babylon complex. The finished New Babylon scheme was named a finalist in the MIPIM Awards 2014.
To take maximum advantage of the building’s structural integrity while avoiding costly and undesirable demolition work, MVSA decided to embrace the existing structure within a two-tower high-rise complex. The available footprint presented a special challenge for the transformation from ‘Old’ to ‘New’ Babylon. The usable floor space had to be tripled from 44,500 sq m to 143,500 sq m, while the footprint only increased from 7,100 sq m to 10,500 sq m. New Babylon is located right next to the Central Station and the Hague's city centre. It is near the main motorway A12, so therefore excellently connected in multiple ways.
Much attention has been paid to improving the public spaces around the building by making New Babylon more transparent, putting the old parking structure underground and thus realising a new public square next to the project. New Babylon has effectively created a recycled building that promotes new standards for urban development. The addition of living space, combined with the building’s central location and excellent transport network, are major contributors to sustainable urban development.
Materials were selected for their sustainability, durability and easy maintenance. When initially designed in the 1970s, the building was modelled on a series of stacked volumes, representing the multiple functions existing in the ancient city of Babylon. New Babylon has created new space for living and working in a busy city centre, demonstrating what can be accomplished in a very limited space.