On 15 August 1905 the “Programme of the Competition for the Architectural Plan of the Peace Palace for the use of the Permanent Court of Arbitration with a Library” was sent out all over the world. The competition was open to all. On the closing day, 15 April 1906, no less than 216 plans had been submitted, covering a total of more than 3.000 drawings. The jury, after subsequent diligent inspection, alloted the first prize to Louis M. Cordonnier of Lille.

Cordonniers design had been selected mainly for its ‘following the local traditions of XVI Century architecture” in The Hague. Now, apart from the fact that this is obviously not the case, as was instantly and painfully pointed out by many Dutch critics, it certainly was not one of the requirements put forward by the programme. 

To build within budget, Cordonnier and his Dutch associate Van der Steur had to adjust the design. The Palace initially had two big bell towers in front and two small ones in the back. Only one big tower and one small tower remained in the final building. Also to save money, the separate library building from the winning design was incorporated into the Palace itself. Thomas Hayton Mawson, the famous English landscape architect, designed the grounds. Because of the budget constraints, he also had to discard design elements – fountains and sculptures. (Eyffinger, A.C.G.M., The Peace Palace: Residence for Justice, Domicile of Learning, The Hague, Carnegie Foundation, 1988, pag. 63-75)

(No. 213 S’G)

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