We propose the new Rådhus as an open and accessible meeting grounds for the citizens of Sola. By distributing the required program into two new volumes connected through building D, we activate a credible pedestrian Rådhusgata to the east. The new volumes are contained within a major and minor structure. The major structure contains the main entrance from Rådhusgata, the central administration, the municipal rooms, and welfare offices; the minor volume contains the community development and technical offices, the cafe and canteen; while building D contains the health clinic, child care, and child welfare. At level one, bridges connect building D to the east to the major structure and to the minor structure to the north.
The resulting complex allows for flexible, interactive spaces, which can evolve and be executed over time. The flexible internal arrangement of the different departments is achieved through a series of cascading and spiraling public plazas and stairs that puncture through each floor.
Like the Spanish Steps in Rome, the spiraling stairs and plazas separate and connect the different departments, while also stimulating natural stack effect ventilation.
Due to the pinwheel organization of this circulation, each floor-plate creates a different social identity and center of gravity. Structurally, this is resolved by introducing slanted timber columns that align in plan and section to form large-scale timber trusses.
Organized as a cruciform in plan, these large-scale timber trusses eliminate the need for any load bearing cores or fixed partitions. The floor-plates are composed of laminated timber panels creating abundant thermal mass for passive heating and cooling.
The floor-plates span and cantilever from the cruciform-shaped timber trusses creating an open and transparent perimeter enclosed by a wood curtain wall. By placing the secondary office circulation along the perimeter, a highly transparent and dynamic façade is activated and visible to the pedestrians below.
Viewed from Rådhusgata, the new Rådhus appears as two glowing timber-structured lanterns, teaming with citizens and municipal participation.
By puncturing the glowing lanterns with a series of social steps, the social space of the city is connected to the democratic space of the Rådhus.
© 2016 NO ARCHITECTURE, PLLC PROJECT: Town hall, café, offices, auditorium, health clinic, archive TYPE: Commission SIZE: 8,570 m² (92,247 ft²) CLIENT: Confidential COLLABORATORS: NA LOCATION: Sola, Norway STATUS: Concept VALUE: $13 million KEY PERSON: Andrew Heid TEAM: Maria Carriero, Yawen Jing, James Kubiniec, Jean Lien, Kirby Liu, Sophie Maquire, Jingyuan Yang, Daniel Zuvia
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