Amare: New, Versatile and the Most Sustainable
Cultural House in the Netherlands

After five years of construction, The Hague’s much-anticipated educational and cultural house opened its doors to the public recently. The renowned firm of JCAU Architects & Urbanists, in partnership with NOAHH Network Oriented Architects, have succeeded in creating a highly sustainable facility – with a BREEAM Excellent Certification – that combines European style and elegance with versatile, intensive use. The building’s exterior features a unique façade designed as a series of theatre curtains, while on the inside it comprises various studios and rehearsal rooms, a large public lobby and two catering establishments. Yet, what attracts the most notice are the three main performance halls: a 600-seat ensemble hall, a 1,300-seat theatre and a 1,500-seat concert hall. All three are built with independent acoustics to enable simultaneous events, and the two larger halls have been made even more flexible to optimize the use of space. Now the home of the Residence Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory and the Nederlands Dans Theatre, the Amare complex can accommodate up to 6,600 visitors at once, year-round, for a panoply of activities.

Modern technology and equipment were of paramount importance to achieve this feat. The city council and the general contractor, Bouwcombinatie Cadanz (Boele & Van Eesteren I Visser & Smit Bouw), enlisted the assistance of BEO Trekwerk, a Dutch firm with over 20 years of experience in complete theatre installations, to deliver all scenic equipment for the venue. In turn, the Canadian engineering firm Gala Systems, specializing in the design and manufacture of under-stage machinery, was appointed by Cadanz and BEO Trekwerk to supply its patented innovative lifting technology for the creation of versatile orchestra and stage lift solutions.

Photos: BEO Trekwerk ( ©Wouter Vellekoop) 

First, the theatre hall was intended to accommodate not only cultural productions such as musicals, dance performances and other family shows, but also corporate conventions and presentations. To accomplish this, the specialized theatre consultants of the well-known Dutch firm Theateradvies supported the design of the stage machinery. They opted for Gala Systems’ technology, the Spiralift. 
Found in more than 1,500 installations worldwide, this extremely compact mechanical actuator possesses both high stability and superior lifting capacity. Thus equipped, the stage consists of two orchestra platforms and one stage lift – powered by 20 Spiralift units – that can be operated separately to create different space arrangements.

Next, the main concert hall was designed to adapt to various musical styles, from classical to popular. In its auditorium configuration, perfectly suited for symphonic concerts, the concert hall offers comfortable seating with optimal sightlines and excellent acoustics. With removable seats and a stage that can be enlarged, the hall can be transformed into a “standing audience” venue, increasing its capacity to 2,500 spectators. Through their fruitful collaboration, BEO Trekwerk and Gala Systems delivered flexibility within a confined space using an extensive system of compact stage lifts (13 Spiralift units), integrated in a guiding system made to measure by the Dutch firm. Adjustable as needed, the orchestra and stage platforms can easily accommodate concerts of various types and sizes. 

The royal capital of the Netherlands now boasts the largest cultural complex in the country, capable of hosting a wide range of events requiring different space layouts, such as music, dance, theatre, seminars, conventions or other special events. Already offering a diverse programme of national and international artists as well as conferences, local community festivals and educational events, Amare is bound to become a true gathering place where students, performers and visitors can connect and learn.