City Hall of Utrecht

City Hall of Utrecht in Utrecht, Netherlands by Enrick Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue, 2000

The following text and images are by Enric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue (aka EMBT Arquitectes Associates SL) for their renovation of the City Hall of Utrecht, Netherlands.

There are three ideas behind the new project...

1. Rediscover the value of the interior spaces of the neo-classic
building, of the Medieval room.

2. Return to the idea of a municipal building as a conglomerate of
the diverse houses of the city.

3. Maintain the monumental quality of the facade and create a more
open construction to facilitate the municipal building and the new square at the back relating better.

1. Rediscover the value of the interior spaces:
a. The monumental part of the building will be evident on the ground
floor...The old outside walls form part of a new way to soften the building...The relevant walls and interiors are maintained...

b. The Debating Chamber is going to be the new important space ...
it is similar in dimension to the Medieval room...Light will come from the roof and a new atmosphere will be created in the interior...A new staircase from the new entrance will give direct access there...

c. The second floor will be dedicated entirely to political representation...With this, the new building will have all the political activity concentrated in the neo-classical building...I believe that this new order is very important for the new building...

2. The City Hall as a conglomerate of constructions...
When the City decided to accept the demolition of the
brick building they took a chance on urban life with humanistic qualities.

The main entrance will be here in a new location, in front of a
square and a wing of new buildings.
This new entrance takes us once again to the
Monumental Room.
The corridor which surrounds these different buildings is free,
but it highlights the City Hall as a conglomerate.

In conclusion, the neo-classical building is converted into a type of "monument" which forms part of the streets and squares...when the door opens it converts itself into part of the public space of the City.
In the construction of the new wing we recycle material (brick, window ledges and lintel stones, etc...) of the achieve a new building with quality materials...
Between the new wing and the neo-classical part there appears a new square for public use...