Many Dutch Town Halls are now rather out of date. That is also the case with the Municipality of Vlaardingen, which opted to realize a new building. This would combine the three existing locations, would be a more sustainable complex, and would lead to lower energy and maintenance costs as well as improved user-friendliness and service. The historical Town Hall on the marketplace would be retained as an administrative centre. After various preliminary rounds, the Municipality selected three architectural offices to create a draft design, subsequently selected one of these, but then abandoned the venture prematurely and is currently considering reuse of the existing building.
The plan drawn up by cepezed is not only directed toward a pleasant, inviting Town Hall, but also toward an improvement of the spatial situation. It does not connect the old and the new building above ground, as the other plans do, but creates space for a free passage between the two building sections by means of an underground link at ground level. This generates air and space, preserves the view of the historical Town Hall elevation, and constitutes a public square that extends into the new building section. The plan also restores the façades in the surrounding area, so that clear, attractive and lively streets, without recesses, grungy crannies and rear elevations are realized. Characteristic lines of trees have been retained and extended alongside the new construction. A green promenade has been incorporated into the roof of the transparent and flexibly partitionable new volume. This fits in well with the structure of the curtain of trees, similar to those at the church and the marketplace, and gives the roof both repose quality and an attractive appearance.
The various functions of the new construction dovetail with the features of the surrounding streets. For example, the Municipal Services Desk, a part of the canteen and the Municipal Information Centre harmonize with the Waalstraat, which has the character of a shopping street. The Library lies on the more tranquil part of the Westnieuwland.
In spatial and organizational terms, the new construction and the administrative centre form a powerful unit. In volume and fineness of detail, they match completely, although the materialization exhibits strong contrasts. In this way, both building sections have a solid individual character and are seen at their best.