Designing the new premises for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague (the Netherlands) isn’t your average job: not only had the ICC key values that it wanted taken into account, but the building also had to embody the spirit of international cooperation.

Alongside the necessity to strike a balance between the issue of security and the Court’s wish for transparency, the project had to contend with typical Dutch dune landscape. However, the international Danish firm schmidt hammer lassen architects (SHL) factored in all these aspects and designed a stunning landmark. Mosa had a difficult task of producing thick exterior tiles that could be laid on sand without sacrificing aesthetics.

SHL reunited the old site with the rolling dunes surrounding it by incorporating the six new buildings, each built to a different height, into this natural environment. The transparent centre is the Court Tower, the heart of the organisation, where the surrounding greenery connects to the courtyard garden as a symbol of unity. As it was not feasible to reflect all nationalities in a coherent design, the architects instead constructed a series of sunken gardens that represent the geographical locations of ICC states, as gardens have always been a part of every culture.

They also decided to follow the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) criteria and constantly paid close attention to sustainability. For instance, the offices have a hot and cold water system in the floors that corresponds to water production outside the site. In addition to this, the building features a heat exchanger, green roofs, water-saving taps and toilets, a supply of filtered rainwater to supply building, and, of course, Mosa’s cradle-to-cradle tiles.

The Mosa tiles, the 216 V and 216 XT Terra Maestricht, enhance the connections that are visible throughout the premises. SHL used them on the ground floor inside as well as outdoors. Their high quality, consistent colour, and large size (measuring 60x60cm) create a serene, tranquil effect and add to the spacious character of the building. The firm was impressed by Mosa’s commitment and customer focus. Despite a difficult task of producing thick exterior tiles that could be laid on sand without sacrificing aesthetics, Mosa delivered fantastic results.