‘GCC delivers US$2 trillion mega project with best European practices’

HagueThe ICC in The Netherlands features open interior plans and integrates nature. (Image source: Hunter Douglas)European best practices are key to deliver on pipeline project industry, experts have said

Following these practices, the GCC region has mega projects in pipeline worth US$2 trillion, especially tied to Expo 2020 in Dubai, the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and Saudi Vision 2030 projects such as the King Abdullah Financial District, according to a recent survey by consultancy Deloitte.

“Increasingly, GCC planners and developers are localising best practices from Europe to enhance the worker and visitor experience,” said Santhosh Vallil for the Middle East at Hunter Douglas, a mega-project consultancy based in The Netherlands.

“GCC mega-projects need to make a signature statement. But they should also place user needs at the center, with a pedestrian scale of construction, open plan interiors that can re-arranged for different stakeholders, and links to nature and sustainability,” added Vallil.

In the GCC, Hunter Douglas has advised on large-scale projects such as Masdar Institute and Zayed Sports City in the UAE, and the Qatar National Convention Centre.

Now, GCC planners are looking at the success of the recently-opened International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in The Netherlands. The 56,000 sq m complex employs 1,200 staff from 124 countries who prosecute people allegedly involved in war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

The six-building ICC complex maintains safety, but is also open and transparent, grand but with a sense of human dimensions. In particular, the project has a small footprint that integrates the dune area on the edge of the city. A ‘bite’ was taken out of the dunes, giving the project a ‘dug-in’ effect to ensure extra protection and a location that gives visitors, victims and suspects a feeling of rest, trust and hope.

Inside, the ICC delivers a strong design statement with a sophisticated, crisp, and functional finish. Hunter Douglas aluminium ceiling panels, which are perforated and inlaid with acoustic mats, cover 29,000 sq m of offices, courtrooms, and public areas, which can be partitioned for extra room.

“The ceiling connects spaces and creates a sense of sameness throughout the building, because the same ceiling is suspended everywhere: where the suspects’ reside, where the lawyers work, and in the office spaces. All of the trials are broadcast live and the media and camera teams providing these broadcasts require a neutral background,” said Bjarne Hammer of Denmark’s Schmidt, Hammer, Lassen Architects.

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