A3 Architecten

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Isabellaland: a total tile metamorphosis

Housing corporation Haag Wonen thoroughly renovated three residential buildings on the street Isabellaland in the Dutch city of The Hague. The twelve-storey building complex, with a total of 216 apartments, underwent a top-to-toe metamorphosis both internally and externally. This was an enormous task, and the corporation invested its best efforts into making the building sustainable and aesthetically pleasing. The goal was to create accommodation in which both current and future tenants could live happily and comfortably. Site engineer Paul van Jaarsveld is proud of the result and the way work proceeded.

'The main bulk of maintenance on these 1960s buildings consisted of insulation work to the façades, roofs, and walkways. The stairwell and the apartments themselves were also given a substantial facelift,' explains Paul. 'Before beginning the project, we paid a visit to each individual tenant in order to answer their questions and take a good look at their apartment. The project manager and building contractor translated the conclusions from these visits into a plan of action. We updated the apartments by installing insulating glass and new bathrooms, toilets, and kitchen blocks. The tiling was also part of the renovation work. Mosa was an obvious choice, as it never fails to provide quality tiles. Another advantage is that the tiles are available until 2040.'




Thinking time

'Working with Mosa was a walk in the park. The custom-made portfolios, which included tile ranges and selection forms for tenants, made a fantastic impression. Haag Wonen carried out the initial selection, from which the tenants' committee picked four colour ranges. Each tenant could then pick a selection of tiles from this range to be fitted in his/her own apartment. Some knew right away which ones they wanted, whilst others needed a couple of days of thinking time. Mosa provided the brochures and sample displays in the project office. We also fitted and furnished a show apartment. Once all the tenants had made a choice, the sample displays were replaced by more practical folders.'

Beautiful ceramic façade

'We are still getting positive feedback about the apartments and the façades,' says the site supervisor. 'The architect chose Mosa Facades. The architectural advisory committee and the monuments committee of the municipality of The Hague approved the design in no time at all. Ceramics have better insulation properties and are also easy to handle. We thought about using an exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS) as an alternative to tiles, but the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. The tiles are timeless, of impeccable quality, and stay clean for longer. This reduces maintenance costs, which frees up money to use in other areas.


'The tiles are timeless, of impeccable quality, and stay clean for longer.'



Limiting inconvenience

'With four tilers working daily for one year, we installed more than 10,000 m2 of tiles. In light of this, you have to be sure that the tiles are dimensionally consistent. Each apartment required around two weeks' of work. We worked from the top floor to the bottom, as we also replaced the rising mains. This meant that the tenants had no running water or drainage during the day for a few days. To compensate for this, we installed temporary showers, toilets, washing machines, and dryers on the ground floor. Tenants also had access to a temporary kitchen block with a sink and hob. We placed plastic sheeting and dust sheets in the apartment in order to keep any damages from installation work to a minimum. All in all, it was quite a tough time for the tenants. However, the result was worth it - and that's what our tenants think, too.'



No more cold feet

Teun Scherpenzeel is the chair of the tenants' committee. He and his wife have been living in the middle-floor apartment for 28 years. 'I am very happy with the changes. We are a very critical tenants' committee: when selecting the tiles for the bathroom, we investigated whether they were easy to keep clean and whether they were of appropriate quality. We also wanted to give the tenants a choice from a number of colours. Grey is standard, but they could also choose yellow, blue, or beige. 'I let my wife choose the colours for our apartment,' he says with a smile. 'The façades are also spectacular. The owner-occupiers' association from the apartment complex across the road came to ask us how we'd managed to do it. It's an enormous improvement to the appearance of the building and especially to the insulation. The benefits are obvious in terms of how comfortable our apartment is. I used to have cold feet - now I don't any more!'


'An enormous improvement to the appearance of the building and especially to the insulation.'

Project details
Project: Isabellaland
Architect: A3 Architecten
Location: Den Haag (Netherlands)
Surface area: façade: 4.200 m2
interior: 6.480 m2
Completion: 2013
Mosa series: Core Collection Quartz
More information

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