Radical makeover: Town hall transformation by Atelier Kempe Thill
Architect: Atelier Kempe Thill, Rotterdam
Location: Stenevate 10, 4451 KB Heinkenszand, Netherlands
The wish to signal more dialogue with the public sphere led to the decision to partially open the facade at the entrance hall and at the far end of each of the three wings of the star-shaped structure and then supplement them with self-supporting glued glass facades. This was put into practice and the result enhances visibility into the building while also anchoring it into its context. At the same time a back-ventilated and insulated skin of glass mosaic tiles has been placed in front of existing areas of brick and continued beyond the edge of the roof. This consistent treatment of all closed-off façade surfaces lends coherence to the heterogeneous building and reinforces its representative character.
The glass mosaic tiles, custom-made in China for the project, are enamelled in a blackish-green colour to make the building seem more compact. At the same time their dark colour is a reference to the black tarred barns typical of Zeeland.
The extremely slender profiles of the structurally glazed, top-hung windows, all of them 1.8 x 1.6 metres in size and flush-fitted into the façade, contribute to the composed, almost hermetic appearance of the outer shell – a look also achieved by removal of almost all technical installations from the facades. A combination of light-reflecting glass and aluminium-coated interior blinds provide sufficient solar shading.
Refurbishing the central entrance hall inside the building presented a particular challenge, since its geometry was unclear and no longer in line with contemporary standards and thus the client called for a fundamental reorganisation. Thanks to a strategic down-sizing of the space, room has been created for several new meeting rooms, a lockable reception area and additional ancillary rooms. In the process the entrance hall was remodelled into an octagonal shape derived from the eight-sided opening in the first floor, plus a new domed ceiling was formed out of the existing polygonal one. A round, translucent skylight at the top to provide the entrance hall with natural illumination.
To establish a fluent experience between the exterior and interior, glass mosaic tiles are a feature in the entrance hall, this time in a pale green that forms the greatest possible contrast to the dark hue of the outer skin. At the same time they reflect light to a maximum degree, and together with the shiny glass balustrade ensure a spatial experience with a friendly and airy feel.