City Hall Alphen aan den Rijn

The city hall of Alphen aan den Rijn is the first project realised in the new redevelopment plan for the centre of this expanding city in the middle of the Netherlands, and sets the tone for the ambition of the future developments. The council sought to define its communication to the local people as being transparent, open and inviting. The building’s open appearance relates directly to this directive and is expressed through the transparent glass façade. The choice of light and natural materials internally also reinforces the building’s public function and encourages visitors. All the public facilities are located on the ground floor with the upper floor council hall projecting over the entrance, expressing its accessibility to the public. The council made the choice for a free form and curving exterior in one of the first stages of the design process, thereby opting for an innovative statement. The overall shape was defined in such a way that it relates and reunites the existing scale differences of the surroundings. On one side the building is higher to respond to the city scale of the Raoul Wallenberg Square, while on the other sides the building is more modest in scale, facing the lower heights of the residential area. The elevation is treated as a continuous but layered skin, wrapped around and thus connecting the three parts of the building (city hall, service department and offices). The various layers slide over each other, revealing the layer appropriate and allowing the different parts of the complex to express their own individuality. The main volume (city hall) has a transparent elevation with an enclosed atrium behind. The lower volume (service department and offices) is, although partly transparent as well, predominantly stony and substantial. By changing its appearance the design responds to the programmatic and spatial requirements of the complex as well as sensitively react to the urban nuances of the location. Without losing itself in monumentality, it refers to the iconic function that the ‘House of the City’ historically has. Open, inviting and accessible for all citizens it can be seen as a contemporary beacon, reflecting the growing community’s image.


14 photos and 24 drawings