International Criminal Court (Ground-breaking) / by schmidt hammer lassen architects

Ground-breaking ceremony for the International Criminal Court


A historical milestone was reached when the ground-breaking ceremony for the International Criminal Court (ICC) took place on Tuesday 16th April 2013 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Designed by schmidt hammer lassen architects to convey hope, trust and faith in justice, the 54,500 square metre building complex will be the first permanent premises of the unique, international institution.

The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. It was founded in 2002 and has grown to the present-day size of 122 member countries.


“To the victims, to their families and to the world, the ICC premises must communicate respect, trust and hope. Therefore, this building cannot be anonymous; it must have the courage to express the values and the credibility of the ICC. As a consequence, the ground-breaking marks the transformation of the values of the ICC into physical reality,” explained Mr Bjarne Hammer, Founding Partner and Creative Director at schmidt hammer lassen architects.

Located close to the North Sea, the new Court building is set in the rolling dune landscape on the edge of The Hague. The main concept is a sculptural arrangement of buildings in the landscape. It appears as a landmark that expresses the eminence and authority of the ICC, while at the same time relating to a human scale.


schmidt hammer lassen architects won the prestigious architectural competition to design the permanent premises of the ICC in March 2010. Since then, the project has been developed in close collaboration with the client and the Municipality of The Hague. During the process, several user-group consultations have been conducted.

Key to the decisions made in the process has been to transform the values of the ICC – transparency and accessibility – to be an integrated part of the building design. Special attention has been paid to the development of a new custom-made facade system designed of a composite material known in the aviation and wind turbine industry.


The permanent premises of the International Criminal Court will be finished in the summer of 2015.


schmidt hammer lassen architects

The International Criminal Court

54,500 m2 GFA with up to 1,200 work stations

2008 – 2010, won in restricted international competition

Construction 2013 – 2015

Royal Haskoning
Esbensen Consulting Engineers (in competition stage)

Interior Design and Art
Bosch & Fjord in collaboration with schmidt hammer lassen architects (in competition stage)

Landscape architect

Project management
Brink Groep



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