De Haagse Poort is one of the most eye-catching office buildings in the Netherlands. From Prins Clausplein, driving towards The Hague, the office building's 'bridge' is simply unmissable. From the motorway, the eye is also quickly drawn to the round glass atrium to the left of the building that requires special solar shading. A job that was perfect for SchermNed.
SchermNed installed the atrium sun blinds immediately after the building was completed in 1994. Founder Cock van der Voort unfolds the original project drawing and points to the date in the right-hand corner of the now yellowed drawing. "I was only nine years old then," laughs son Jack, the second generation now at the helm of the Naaldwijk-based family business, which employs some 40 people today. "It's remarkable that almost 30 years on father and son are standing here with our colleagues, tweaking the plans for the renovation of the installation."
aerial photo of The Hague: Siebe Swart
Unique commercial projects
The circular atrium, dubbed 'The Diamond', is used as a restaurant as well as a presentation and recreation area. It is a pleasant space with plenty of light, but too much sun obviously requires shading. "By far the majority of our projects are in the horticulture sector, but we love the challenges of special skylights, gable roof awnings, large glass facades or complete atriums in commercial buildings, Jack explains. "We can offer project architects unexpected solutions with our innovations from horticulture", adds his father, referring to previous challenging commercial projects.
The circular atrium has a diameter of 23 metres and shade is provided by four so-called 'orange segments'. A linked operating system engages four 380V motors to move the segments by means of a wheel and chain assembly as the sun moves across the sky. "In this way, we are able to ensure a pleasant climate all day long," says Jack, who also mentions the acoustic damping function of blinds. "An important element in a presentation space, as are the appearance of the fabric and the installation. It looks fresh and clean."
Following previous maintenance work, a major renovation was scheduled for late 2022, which was completed in early 2023. This involved replacing gear sets, axle bearings and chains with 40% extra tensioning, overhauling the motors and a complete upgrade of the operating system. The control's encoders and proximity switches are linked to a modem, allowing remote monitoring of where the panels are located. Jack summarises the benefits of this modernisation: "It means you can respond more quickly in the event of a malfunction, saving costs".
Cock illustrates the savings using a striking example. "The panels automatically slide back to the starting position at night to catch the first rays of the sun in the morning. If a window cleaner accidentally hits a sensor earlier that afternoon, the system stops. A malfunction like that is easy to fix remotely."
The renovation means the office building can continue to benefit from flexible atrium sun blinds that create a pleasant climate, provide acoustic damping and look very presentable. A space that continues to impress customers and other business associates. "Just as we want to continue to impress customers with our innovative solutions," Jack concludes. "It was my father who originally extended our activities to the commercial sector from horticulture; that combination still works perfectly for us."
SchermNed is the leading specialist in screen installations and insect netting for horticulture, commercial construction and garden centres. The innovative horticulture sector has been leading the way in solutions for special screening projects in the commercial sector for decades.
The 'The Diamond' project in De Haagse Poort was commissioned by Cromwell Property Group in collaboration with Sweco Vastgoedmanagement's Technical Manager Eric Dekker and the Haagse Poort site manager Steven van Bennekom.
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