BBVH transform church into web design office in the hague

Previously located above a scheveningen fishmonger, the web design company acato decided they wanted something more central and a bit less smelly. transforming an old 19th century church situated in the center of the hague, dutch architecture firm BBVH worked with their client to refurbish the worn out structure. the building went through a rigorous upgrading, as it was completely dilapidated and didn’t meet any of the current standards of comfort, isolation, safety and sustainability.


over its lifetime the church was subject to multiple alterations, which resulted in a mess of corridors and disused spaces. to return a sense of logic and flow back to the interior, the structure was stripped back and the interior completely redefined. inserting a large stairwell into the main double-height space enabled the volume to be divided into three unique units. the old church hall was turned into acato’s office and the three floors in front became two separate apartments.


the old church hall was turned into acato’s office



the steel staircase is wrapped in a white painted wooden finish, providing direct access to the former balcony/choir turned meeting room it offers an amphitheater-like shape. a specific requirement of the brief was to create an informal atmosphere that facilitated spontaneous interactions. seeking to create a comfortable and energy efficient environment for the staff, the architects employed insulated walls with a retention gap on the inside and double-glazed windows. the underneath of the floor was filled with a 30cm layer of sea shells for insulation and also humidity regulation – a reference to their former office near the beach.



view of the new stairs and meeting room beyond



view from the former choir area, which is now a meeting room



view looking from the former choir room



stairs (steel frame)



detail of the stairs






elevation of transformed building



sketch of new stairs



project info:


size: 2 separate offices and one duplex apartment total 480 m² (2.100 m³)
building costs: € 350.000 excl. vat
architect: BBVH architects rotterdam
structural engineer: adviesbureau sterk
contractor: rekotech vof, window system timmerselect doornenbal concept 2
team from BBVH: joris van hoytema, barbora gezeova, erik leusink
photography: luuk kramer