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[highlight1]  Stadshuis Nieuwegein City Hall  [/highlight1]

The ‘Stadshuis’ – City Hall – of Nieuwegein designed by 3XN, mix traditional city hall features of offices and service with a library, a multi-cultural centre, and commercial facilities. In this way, the city hall becomes a part of the everyday life of the town. The city hall functions as an important part of the densification of the city centre and aims to tie the complex context together. Being part of an ambitious city plan, the building is designed with indentations to avoid blocking the daylight, which the neighbouring buildings have previously enjoyed.

  • “It was important for us to create a building that was welcoming, rather than authoritarian in its expression,” says Principal and founder of 3XN, Kim Herforth Nielsen.

The new ‘Stadshuis’ is designed with terraced open floors that are rotated around a common atrium. Due to a growing success abroad, 3XN has had to expand its premises several times during the past year. This project was subject to great interest from Dutch architects because of the innovative concept, the client’s huge ambitions and the possibility to work with one of the cities most interesting developments.

The Client’s Brief

Since 1970 Nieuwegein has grown from having just 8,000 inhabitants to 62,000 inhabitants in 2012. The strong growth in population makes heavy demands on the city administration to develop the city socially and culturally. Therefore it has been a key focus for the client to create a new city hall that would function as a catalyst for social affiliation with the city and develop the positive relationship between citizens and city administration.

Design for Modern Democracy:

A modern participatory democracy requires transparency and communication at eye level in the encounter between citizen and authority. These elements have been the core of the design. Hence, 3XN has designed a building that is welcoming and inviting, rather than authoritarian in its expression. The ‘Stadshuis’ – City Hall – of Nieuwegein mix traditional city hall features of offices and service with a library, a multi-cultural centre, and commercial facilities. In this way, the city hall becomes a part of the everyday life of the town. This creates life in the building all day and strengthens the connection to the commercial and residential area surrounding the building.

Folding Facade:

Stadshuis Nieuwegein is centrally located in the new commercial district of Nieuwegein, a place where the citizens pass by on a regular basis. The building has two facades. The inner is a traditional facade of concrete and glass, while the exterior facade of glass patterned silkscreen almost folds around the building, but without covering it completely. This avoids direct sunlight in work station areas, while spaces like the lobby and restaurant receive maximum natural daylight and unobstructed views over the city. The glass’ geometric patterns in blue and grey give the facade a three-dimensional expression and reflect the diversity of both the building and Nieuwegein.

Open and Connecting:

Architecturally the building takes its point of departure from a central and bright atrium from where a sculptural staircase soars up through the building and connects the many diverse facilities – indeed facilities not normally found in a City Hall. By bringing together the local library, citizen service centre, café, cultural center and commercial spaces in the building, the City Hall fuses with a range of everyday activities. This creates life in the building all day, and strengthens the connection to the commercial and residential area surrounding the building.

The five floors spread out like a fan and open up towards the atrium, allowing the building’s visitors and employees to visually connect with what is happening on the other floors. There has been put great emphasis into maximizing the benefits of daylight through use of windows, including a huge picture window on the 4th floor, through which daylight streams down into the building. A number of mega columns have both a constructive function, and contains also all restrooms, vertical installations have rapper etc. They allow the remaining floor landscape can be kept open and flexible – and light and friendly.

The open structure of the building and the many visual connections both internally and externally allow the staff of the city administration to be in close communication and contact with the city and the citizens every day. According to Mayor of Nieuwegein, Mr Frans Backhuijs, these elements contribute strongly to a working environment characterized by joy and enthusiasm.

3XN

A Multi-functional House:

The ‘Stadshuis’ – City Hall – of Nieuwegein mix traditional city hall features of offices and service with a library, a multi-cultural centre, and commercial facilities. In this way, the city hall becomes a part of the everyday life of the town. This creates life in the building all day and strengthens the connection to the commercial and residential area surrounding the building.

Ties the City Together:

A modern participatory democracy requires transparency and communication at eye level in the encounter between citizen and authority. This has been a guideline for the design of a building which appears open towards the city. The city hall functions as an important part of the densification of the city centre and aims to tie the complex context together – but always with great respect of the neighbouring buildings

Democratic Institution with space for Interaction:

The five floors spread out like a fan and open up towards the atrium, allowing the building’s visitors and employees to visually connect with what is happening on the other floors. The different levels are connected by an open winding staircase. Rotation of the floor plans allows the visitors a wide view from one floor to the next all the way up and down through the building.

[highlight1]  Project Data  [/highlight1]

Project name: Stadhuis Nieuwegein
Location: Nieuwegein, Netherlands
Coordinates: 52.027934,5.085758
Type: City Hall, Cultural Center
Project Area: 25,000 sqm
Project Year: 2006-2011
Official opening Date: March 23, 2012
Status: Built
Cost: 38 mio Euro
Completion Year: September 2011
[box_note]
Awards:

  • 2012 Glass Awards
  • 2012 World Architecture Festival Award – Category: Civic and community – Shortlisted

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[highlight1]  The people  [/highlight1]

Client / Owner / Developer: Nieuwegein Municipality
Architects: 3XN architects – Strandgade 73, DK-1401 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Local partner: ABT
Project Architect: Kim Herforth Nielsen, Bo Boje Larsen, Kim Christiansen
Project Team: Kim Herforth Nielsen, Mette Baarup, Henriette Byrge, Daniel de Sousa, Robert Haff-Jensen, Palle Holsting, Jørgen Søndermark, Heidi Daggry, Rune Hvarre Brouer, Vibeke K. Jørgensen, Nikolaj Borgwardt Schmidt, Jens Martin Højrup
Interior Designer: Fokkema, Netherlands
Engineer: Zonneveld Ingenieur & Nelissen Ingenieursbureau
Text Description: © Courtesy of 3XN, worldbuildingsdirectory
Images: © 3XN architects, Adam Mørk, flickr-Frank Formsache

[highlight1]  Location Map  [/highlight1]

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