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Archiprix 2020
A timber public building for the north of Antwerp.

Stadsloket 't Noord

Burgerzaal in the morning
Hellmer Rahms
This project is part of Archiprix 2020

A journey through the architectural devices a public building can deploy to become an active actor in the events that make a city a city - ranging from architecture and engineering to sociology and history.

Townhalls, public buildings by nature, have seen their civic functions erode, leaving a carcass that only stands for performance. Governments often reduce themselves to their mere administrative tasks, something reflected in the faceless office buildings they inhabit โ€“ structures without gravity in the urban fabric due to their lack of civicness and outreach. By proposing a Stadsloket (en: district hall) that goes beyond its administrative tasks, this project researches architectural devices that enable a building to participate in the life of the city. The passage in the ground floor softens the edge between the governance and population, also filling the plinth and square with life. A Burgerzaal (en: citizenโ€™s room) is a public interior conceived below the expressive structure of the roof, making the building able to host the cultural output of the neighbourhood โ€“ and analogically linking it to the experience of the city. It is a building where you can be in public or be the public.