Because of its immediate surroundings where streets and carparks prevail, the middle of the small town Grosskarolinenfeld never really developed an identifiable center. Using already existing areas, a sequence of situation, public spaces and paths are created that form a greater whole to help identify it as “the heart of the place”. The existing Kolberer square in the north, the Wirtsgarten - a restaurant with a beer garden which opens out towards the public realm and the public space in front of the church were conjoined to create an effective urban context. Traffic in these areas is becalmed as much as possible and new cobbled paving will also be provided.
Together with the re-defined Karolinenplatz square in front of it, the old city hall and the existing retail building, the new city hall building marks the beginning or, depending on how you look at it, the end of the new town center. The green area between the churches creates a “Green Center” that continues in southerly direction down to the railway embankment and from the city hall garden to the banks of the river Erlbach.
The plot of the new city hall occupies a gently sloping site at the transition between the high street and the new square. Its size and situation mark it out as an autonomous building in keeping with its important public function while at the same time it interacts in different ways with the existing buildings surrounding it. Public functions have been accommodated at the ground floor level and have been divided into two independent parts that are characterized by freedom with respect to their formal design as well as transparency. They are surrounded by the public realm of the square. The council chambers and the room for wedding ceremonies are situated in one of these parts, in the other there is the citizens’ advice bureau and a public staircase leading to the second floor. Both parts can be entered through their own separate access and lobby.
The second floor with its stricter formal design lies on top of the public functions on the first floor. Here the less frequently used municipal offices of the public administration can be found: they are arranged along the outer façade and wrap around two light wells inside of the building. One of these wells reaches down to the first floor level bringing daylight to the circulation spaces in the building. The other light well is designed as an interior free area that can be used by the city hall staff. Closed timber-clad façade surfaces alternate with sliding vertical louvered shutter units. Depending on the building orientation the louvers are inclined at different angles to permit effective shading and at the same time views out.
In keeping with the climate and energy concept which follows ecological principles and has been optimized for economic efficiency, only materials are used that require a minimum of energy input and produce minimum harmful emissions. It also provides for the usage of waste air, thermal energy from bio mass plants and cooling by means of the ceilings.
Behnisch Architekten, München
2.172 m2 / 23,379 sq.ft.
7.343 m3 / 259,318 cu.ft.
2016, 1st prize