Sandnes is on the move. The city is experiencing a strong and international increase in population, areas are in transformation, the city centre is shifting towards the waterfront.
Sandnes city centre’s historical character and identity is formed by a fine grained fabric between city and harbour with Langgata as the spine in the historic development from the centre to Neset. Reclaimed land in the harbour areas changed the city’s character with the introduction of an industrial scale. In past times this differentiation in scale carried a meaning: industry and harbour activity represented the large scale; trade, housing and city life the smaller.
In the last decades this has changed with the introduction of increasingly larger building volumes housing traditional city functions such as trade, culture, businesses and also housing. Mono-functional “superblocks” give little variation at street level, neither in trade nor experiences. The spatial variation between open harbour, larger and smaller streets and squares, passages and courtyards, is erased through increasingly larger singular projects.
As the harbour area’s industry is replaced by typical urban programmes, we take what we see as essential qualities in the historical core: a human scale, a variation in volumes, a hierarchy in street network from main streets to passages and shortcuts, courtyards and in between spaces offering surprising and differentiated spatial experiences.
Sandnes Town Hall can, in spite of its singular function, as a public building representing local democracy, become a city block not only offering urban facilities at street level, but also a variation in urban spaces, streets, courtyards, shortcuts and spatial qualities. Monumental and intimate, part of the city weave and an icon, forthcoming and representational, unique and rational, Sandnes Town Hall can be the centre for a future looking, textured, inclusive and forthcoming urban development.
The building shape is created through braking up the programme in its components, in smaller building volumes, as molecules customized to a Sandnes city scale, the unique functions for a town hall as well as typical dimensions for a general and efficient office layout. Further, through a re-composition of the blocks to one building, one expression, one facade treatment, the building is giving an identity and monumentality unlike any other buildings in Sandnes.
The building can be read as a porous agglomeration of cubes, but also as a manipulated traditional courtyard block. In the latter the street façade is limited by the circumference of the site, and efficient area use leads to deep workplace zones or inward facing offices. An irregular shape increases façade length, thus giving all workplaces a street view, good contact with the surroundings, light and view contributing to a better working environment. On the same time, work areas and departments are given spatial definition and identity. In the same move, the courtyard is compressed, common facilities centralised, creating intimate shared meeting spaces with visual contact across the building.
New town hall including offices for 350 people, politicians and administration, as well as visitors centre, conference and council halls.
Jens Noach, Adam Kurdahl, Noafumi Namba, Joao Vieira Costa, Julia Lacombe, Natállia Shiroma, Eugenio Cardoso
Exterior: Tegmark Interior: Corpo Architecture and Art