It was requested to design a House for the City where public functions, the civil service office and the administration are brought together. The municipal components are thus combined from four locations at one location.
The ambitions are
- economically vital
- appropriate and responsible
- Contemporary and flexible
In determining the shape of the building, we looked ahead to see how the immediate surroundings might develop in the future. A compact volume leaves room for other buildings. This creates the possibility that the building will function as a flywheel for a vital part of the city as a connection between the station and the center.
The building will have different entrances wherefore it will play a role in the routing from the station to the center. In the heart of the building, a central atrium provides maximum visual connections between the different floors. On the first floor, the central courtyard is provided. From there, the visitor can choose the facilities of social domain, a dining, - work cafe, a newsroom or the public staircase landscape that is introduced by a grandstand staircase. The staircase landscape ensures that visitors have access to part of all floors.
The Council Chamber has been given a prominent position on the 1st floor. Overlooking the park it is clearly visible coming from the station. All large meeting rooms are placed near the council chamber. The central location of these rooms allows for double use so that residents can also use them in the evenings or at weekends.
In addition to the multifunctional use of spaces, flexibility is deeply rooted in various aspects of the design. The design is such that when space demand shrinks or grows, the building can respond accordingly. For example, through the principle of accessibility of the staircase landscape, floors can easily be rented out and an extra layer can be added. Part of the shell of the existing municipal offices will be reused. A second, generic building section will be placed to the south of this. The special areas with specific constructions such as the council chamber and the staircase landscape will be placed in between. In the long term, these could be removed so that, for example, housing could be made from them. The building will be equipped with 1,000 m2 of solar panels, a Geothermal Heat Pump (installation) and lots of greenery! Sustainability in this building is given.
Together with ABCnova, we synchronized the development of the design with the creation of the program of requirements. For this, we developed a tailor-made process approach based on design thinking. In an agile way, we work very closely with the program team of the municipality. Through an iterative process of empathizing, defining, ideating & testing requirements, wishes & design are interlinked. We also work broadly on participation. The various user groups think along via workshops and provide input for the development of the design.
The House for the City will be a building for everyone. A building that will give new meaning to the City Hall. The center of democracy but also for meetings; planned and unplanned. A building that will provide the connection between employees, residents and entrepreneurs. A building where there is room for expression of the individual and the collective.
City Hall Helmond
David Hess, Chantal Vos, Hashmat Fagirzada, Jik Mosch, Tatjana Djordjevic, Patrick Keijzer, Lisa de Groene, Edward Timmermans, Bart van der Werf, Maxime Spapens, Leslie Che, Jason Broekhuizen, Rui Batista, Linda Brouwer, Pim Bangert
The Eindhovens Dagblad wrote an article about the project. Read the full article here.