Town Hall Bronckhorst
exceptionally sustainable and extremely energy efficient town hall
Bronckhorst Town Hall, Hengelo
On 1 January 2005, five small municipalities and about forty villages in the Achterhoek area in Gelderland were consolidated and renamed into one municipality called Bronckhorst. For this municipality, with almost 40,000 inhabitants, atelier PRO has designed a light, open and transparent town hall, which symbolizes this new administrative unity in a convincing and elegant way. The surrounding unique Gelderland landscape provided inspiration for the architectural shape.
The result is a sustainable, clearly organized building, with character and shape which are based on the surrounding pastural landscape: a combination of softly slanted fields and a multi-angular allotment with sloped lines. The building consists of two office wings, situated next to each other and slightly kinked outwards. The wings are of unequal heights and the roofs gently sloped.
The grassland reaches the entrance hall, which seamlessly connects the two kinked facades. A matrix of shutters is displayed on the austere facades, which brings about an interesting shadow play. The visual artist Jaap Drupsteen has applied a subtle relief of scenic photographs on the outside of the shelters. On the inside, one can perceive images from the municipal archives.
Amidst the two wings of the building, the heart of the town hall offers views of the scenic environment. Large windows frame the panoramas of trees groups and monumental farmhouses. Passer-bys can observe the large window of the council chamber from the Rondweg (road), and reversely, the councillors can observe the church tower of Hengelo when they are in session. At the same time, in the central corridor between the high sidewalls made of yellow-white bricks, there is a flat roof with a long roof-light strip to allow an incidence of light alongside the wall.
Much attention was paid to the interiors, of the public hall, the council chamber, the rooms for Mayor and Aldermen and of both the office wings. The large windows not only offer a view of the council chamber from the Rondweg, but also of the beautiful spacious central hall. For special occasions, the sliding wall to the hall can even be pushed open completely. Here, open government has been taken literally. The office chambers are also characteristic: the workplaces have been hidden from view, but the surrounding area has a maximum of transparency. The furniture is as durable as possible and all used materials are attuned to one another, thus creating a splendid unity of Scandinavian simplicity. One of the toppers is the cross-cut floor in the central hall.
Bronckhorst’s new town hall is not only light, open and transparent, but also extremely energy efficient. This was rewarded with the highest achievable Green Calc A+ Label*. Using the passive building principles, it was possible to achieve an EPQ of 0.36 with this design. This means an energy use of only 36 %, compared to the standard in the building regulations at the moment of occupation. The passive building principles have been applied with good sense. The shutters form a telling example: these 280 shutters have been installed to keep out a surplus of solar heat, so that the building will not heat up too much during daytime. The innovative concept is to be able to close them during the night and thus keep the heat inside the building. Another scheme is the CO2 directed ventilation, which will never be less than one third of the minimum.
*At the moment of occupation, Town Hall Bronckhorst was the most energy efficient town hall in the Netherlands, providing an average GPR score of 8.2 and a GreenCalc score of 234.