Groninger Forum Proposal

Erick van Egeraat’s Groninger Forum is a series of dialectic plays between robust mass and transparency, weight and weightlessness, the Human and nature. Its shape makes it a self-possessed and self-confident icon, which both surmounts and cradles the surrounding city structure. The building appears tectonic and impenetrable at a distance, but open, accessible and inviting from nearby.

The sensual choice of materials and the play of light reflect the city’s desire for openness, lightness and transparency, represented through both cuts in the façade and cone and the manifold terraces which open out into the city.

The Forum’s softly notched shape infers a soft sculpted rock, part natural, part by human hand. It narrows towards the top and peaks with the transparent roof of the central cone.

Like a canyon, the central cone transects all levels of the building. Its reddish, earthly skin promotes a sense of nurture and warmth and yet the cuts breathe vitality and energy throughout the building by allowing shimmering natural light to penetrate deep into the core.

The building’s translucent alabaster façade contributes to this inherent play of diffuse light and shadows. At night, the building stands out as an illuminated beacon in the centre of the city.

Standing on five feet, the Erick van Egeraat Groninger Forum hovers one level above the ground and faces the Grote Markt via a decentralised passage in the south-western corner of the transformed area. The ground level almost seamlessly unites with the surrounding public square. Glass walls at the ground level can be opened to create a continuous space in and outside the building allowing visitors to wander freely.

The organically shaped ground floor ceiling is clad in red brick stone. It opens up towards the central cone. The main body of the building is accessed via an escalator through the cone. On the first floor, a quick routing system of escalators allows visitors to shortcut through the building and reach all domains directly. Visitors who want to explore the building can wind their way upwards around the cone via the central staircase.

A flexible zoning system empowers utilisation of the building to the user’s advantage. Different zones house different domains. Transition between all domains is fluent. All facilities can seamlessly be accessed throughout the building. Various parts can be opened and closed without affecting the use of other zones. Especially the cinema, the exhibition area and the roof-top café can remain open late at night or on Sundays. All active zones can be accessed via the quick routing system.

The building comprises 21.064 m2 across 11 levels. It houses various domains and facilities, from cinema, auditorium, library and information domains to exhibition space, panoramic lounge, roof terrace café and a kid’s domain.


8 photos and 3 drawings

Building Activity