On Wednesday, September 20th, King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands officially opened the renovated Gelderland House of Province in Arnhem to great interest from the press and public. The project called for the renovation of the existing building and the construction of a new extension, resulting in the creation of a sustainable and contemporary work environment while maintaining the monumental character of the original building.
“The beauty of the House of Province is how we have been able to incorporate design at every level, from the urban planning scale to the minutiae of the details,” says Jeroen van Schooten, who as architect and director of Team V Architecture is responsible for architectural design.
The House of Province surprises and connects
The design enhances the relationship between the market square and the Rhine river by means of an elevated plaza which encircles the buildings. Further connections to the public realm are created by new pedestrian routes which run across the complex, one of which passes through the new building where passers-by can see the Province at work. Links between the new building and the monumental House of the Province are made by bridges of mirrored aluminum whose reflections obscure the boundaries between building and bridge, old and new. According to Van Schooten, the bridges are exemplary of the overall design: “The House of Province surprises and connects”.
An innovative roof
The former courtyard of the House of the Province has been transformed into an indoor plaza by means of an innovative roof design using ETFE cushions. “The design of the roof was influenced by the desire to have as minimal an impact as possible on the monument, and therefore a lightweight construction of rods and cables was designed in collaboration with SIDstudio” says Van Schooten. The rods of the roof structure are orientated to the centre point of the courtyard and incorporate LED lighting at their ends. “It makes for an interesting play of light: as you walk through the atrium, the roofscape changes all the time.” The new roof not only provides a monumental reception hall, it also helps to significantly reduce energy consumption.
“We have tried to use and strengthen the cultural-historical value of the House of Province, a famed Gesamtkunstwerk from the fifties, which means the building can be seen as one complete work of art.” Characteristic motifs from the monument, such as the hourglass pattern, return to the new building and new characteristic elements have been added. An example of such a new element is the blue staircase in the courtyard, which also serves as information desk, seating area and tree planter. “The blue steel and the hourglass are part of the Gesamtkunstwerk. If you look around, you will encounter it everywhere in the buildings. It is these kind of details that make the House of Province so very special”.
The House of Province has been procured as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), led by VolkerWessels Integraal, who are responsible for the Design, Construction, Maintenance and Operation for a period of 20 years. The design team was made up of Team V Architecture, OTH architects, Karres and Brands Landscape Architects, Bureau Fritz, Bartels, SIDstudio, DGMR and Valstar Simonis.
Photo by ©ANP Royal Images Remko de Waal