Tony Fretton Architects has achieved planning permission for a new 7,500 sq m town hall and administrative centre in Deinze, Belgium, which will begin construction in early 2013. Commissioned by the City of Deinze following an international competition held in 2009 the building accommodates Deinze’s municipal departments, offices for the mayor and aldermen together with a new council chamber.
The new building is set near the centre of Deinze in a pivotal location alongside the river Leie, opposite a church and on the edge of Kaendelpark, the main public park in the town. The design sets the administrative accommodation in a 5-storey reconfigurable loft building and the council chamber as a projecting double height room, with the public entrance foyer below. All facades consist of loggias formed with stone pilasters that shade the interior in summer and allow sun to enter in winter and provide informal outdoor places for workers and politicians.
Natural ventilation and night cooling is achieved by opening windows supplemented by limited amounts of mechanical cooling powered by ground source heat. Storey heights are tall and daylight illumination levels are sufficient for working throughout most of the day.
The municipal offices and council chamber enclose a new public space at the edge of the river, which will be integrated to the river-edge landscaping scheme of architects Marie-José Van Hee in collaboration with Robbrecht & Daem. From here and the new square around the church, the interior of the council chamber, with its activity and decorated ceiling, will be visible.