The Mayor of the city of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen and the ambassador H.E. Zhuang Jun from China opened yesterday evening officially the Chinese Gates. This event took place during a big festivity with dragondansers and Chinese drummers at the Gates situated on the Wagenstraat in the centre of the Hague. Before the traditional part of the opening took place, there were also speeches by aldermen of The Hague Frits Huffnagel and Henk Kool and the State Secretary of Economic Affairs Frank Heemskerk where they emphasized the strong cultural and economic relationship between The Hague Chinatown and China.
The Chinese Gates were developed by Chinese entrepreneurs joined in the Chinatown Foundation. The Chinese architect Momoko Cai from KOW and the Construction Company Shanghai Tayjuan Company joined hands for the design and whole building process of the Gates. Momoko Cai currently works for the KOW office in Shanghai.
The most important condition as far as the city was concerned was authenticity. The gateways were to be designed by a Chinese architect and would be fabricated in China with natural Chinese materials. The city asked KOW Architects, with its offices in The Hague and Shanghai to organize a competition amongst Chinese architects.
The winner should not only be responsible for the design but also fabrication and construction in The Hague. Of the five selected Chinese design and construction companies the international jury chose Taiyuan from Shanghai, which had entered plans drawn up by Momoko Cai. The jury praised the Feng Shui of the winner, its balance and the good Chi (human energy) and was pleased with the use of carved natural stone and artistic wooden finish.
Chinese gates, Dutch rules and regulations
The construction and the materials used had to conform to city regulations and the rules governing the building permit. KOW adapted the plans and tested the quality of the materials. The foundation and frame were constructed by a Dutch company. Together with its Chinese partner a method was developed whereby the gateway elements which were fabricated in China could be easily and quickly mounted to the erected construction.
Contract and construction
After the contract had been negotiated between the city and Taiyaun with the help of KOW, the permit process and construction could begin. While the foundation and utilities were being laid in The Hague the fabrication of the different elements commenced in different Chinese locations. The natural stone parts were sculpted by Chinese artisans and would later be draped around the concrete pillars.
The 1,200 wooden parts of the roof are put together like a three dimensional puzzle without the use of any glue or nails. A