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Outram's Dutch treat

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The flamboyant polychromatic brickwork in a striking development at The Hague's Old Town Hall announces itself as the work of John Outram Associates.

The completion of a new town hall 1km away presented the chance for a unique addition to the already thriving shopping area. The project, for developer MAB Groep, comprised the conversion of the part Medieval Oude Stadhuis into offices, plus a new retail development on the adjoining site. This was freed by the demolition of the unloved 1970s Council Chamber, the rough concrete facades and layout of which had always been at odds with the old quarter.

A circular building - the Rotunda - is at the apex of the triangular site, acting as the main entrance and stair hall for the first-floor department store. The other flanks of the scheme contain shopfronts and are cut back to reveal the fine facades of the Oude Stadhuis.

In the Oude Stadhuis itself, while the first floor now houses offices for rent, the magnificent ground-floor interiors are retained for public use as a registry office.

It is the rotunda entrance that marks out the development as unmistakably Outram.

It has a glazed clay tile roof sitting on columns clad with a trademark psychedelic palette; the shiny precision of glazed bricks - red, white, yellow, dark and light blue - in combination with blue engineering bricks, each of them special shaped radius bricks to achieve the tight arc required. The project was fully let before completion.

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