transformation of a monumental department store

Campus university, The Hague

What do you do with a sprawling, iconic department store in the heart of the city that's been sitting vacant? This is the challenge we faced after the closure of V&D and the departure of Hudson's Bay from the Netherlands. While smaller shops happily occupy street-level spaces, the upper floors presented a unique opportunity. Should they house a hotel, offices, residences, or something entirely different? After all, it's still the city's prime location - central and highly visible.

academic education and research

CBRE Investment Management

Den Haag


in uitvoering

From department store to knowledge hub
These former department stores boast impressive spans, generous floor heights, and expansive interiors. Take, for example, our location in The Hague, with over 35,000 square meters of space, 20,000 of which awaited a new purpose. A solution has emerged: the building's structure aligns perfectly with educational facilities. CBRE Investment Management, the Municipality of The Hague, and Leiden University collaborated to create a vibrant hub in the heart of the city. The Technical University of Delft, Open University, and Universities of the Netherlands also joined the initiative.

"I am thrilled with this development, which contributes significantly to The Hague's evolution as a university city. It injects vitality into the knowledge economy, creates jobs, and attracts young, highly educated talent to the city."
Anne Mulder, Municipality of The Hague

The opportunity to transform this heritage is a win-win—for new occupants and for The Hague. This former department store ideally supports its new educational role. The 'Spuigebouw' is strategically located for Leiden University, within walking distance of other faculties that together form Campus The Hague. This university setting revitalizes the city center, even outside regular shopping hours. Facilities like sports and student-friendly dining are thoughtfully integrated into this historic space.

A glimpse into history
Our building has a rich history. The Spui location dates back to 1930, designed by Jan Kuijt, V&D's esteemed architect. In this design, he fused functional expressionism with the distinctive Amsterdam School architectural style. Iconic mushroom columns and coffered ceilings from that era still grace the building. Over the years, the structure underwent several transformations to keep up with evolving trends in retail architecture: a modernization in the late 1950s, followed by expansions in 1964 and contractions in the late 1970s, culminating in the preparation for Hudson's Bay's arrival in 2018.

History meets the future
The redesign for CBRE Investment Management is a creation of LIAG architects and engineers. JHK Architects, on behalf of Leiden University and its partners, is further developing the interior design. This marks a new chapter for this once-empty department store. The building's adaptable structure welcomes reuse, new construction, and its envisioned change of purpose. The objective is clear: unite various building elements, span different eras, and create a future-ready building while preserving its historical essence.

The existing facade had deteriorated over time, calling for two significant interventions. First, the monumental facade with its historic entrance on Spui is being meticulously restored to its former glory, soon to bear a new name. Around 4,000 students and staff will enter through this grand entrance, just as shoppers did in the past. Second, the facades on Spuistraat and Grote Markstraat are being reimagined with a sleek rhythm of openings. These windows will no longer showcase merchandise but will proudly exhibit the building's new purpose to the outside world. In turn, they invite the 'Hague' spirit inside, with views of the buildings that define the city of Peace and Justice.

"The Spui facade is a designated national monument, characterized by a granite base, curved masonry wall surfaces, tall vertical windows, a tower-like accent, and sculptures. We are preserving this facade and repositioning the main entrance. Transformation requires precision. It demands a thorough analysis to bridge the gap between the past and the future. This intervention puts the building in the spotlight and enhances the surrounding area's allure."
Thomas Bögl, LIAG architects and engineers

We frequently pay homage to the past, both inside and out. Though this space no longer caters primarily to shoppers, it will become a place where students and staff will love to spend time. An inviting pathway leads them past lecture halls, amenities like dining options, and various study and workspaces. They'll enjoy glimpses of nearby shopping streets or a secluded rooftop garden. Upon reaching the top, they'll be rewarded with breathtaking views from the rooftop terrace overlooking the 'Binnenhof' (the heart of the Dutch democracy).

"In the interior, we strive to strike a balance between the historical charm of the original buildings and the demands of their new purpose. Drawing inspiration from the grandeur of department stores, we create an engaging and stimulating environment for students and university staff. For example, in the entrance area, we lay a granito floor. We clad the main staircase, a recognizable starting point for the building's journey, in dark wood. Columns and beams remain exposed, and we employ fixtures that resonate with the era when the original building was designed."
Peter Hagelaar, JHK Architects

Interior design:
JHK architecten

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