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House of the City and Region

Dordrecht/ The Netherlands

Size/ 22,000 m²
Competition/ First prize, International competition, 2020
Client/ Municipality of Dordrecht
Engineering Consultant/ ABT
Photo/ David Mark/ Pixabay

The new House of the City and Region is a 22,000-square-metre civic building that will become Dordrecht, The Netherlands' most prominent public hub. The cultural anchor and urban node comprises a citizens’ service centre, library, tourist information centre, and workplaces for the civil services of the municipality Dordrecht and the Drechtsteden.

The proposal for the new House of City and Region embodies the spirit and identity of Dordrecht as a city on the water. With its unique location between the train station and historic city centre, the project will function as a facilitator of culture, a connector, and an environment for ideas and innovation, co-created with its stakeholders.

The new House of the City and Region will mediate diverse present and future flows. It is a centre for physical, virtual, and personal connections, a place of transition, and a collection of environments to be alone, together, and alone-together.

The winning proposal offers several new public spaces around the building such as the square that marks the main entrance and connects with the city centre, and a pocket park that creates a more intimate public space. There is clear focus on the human scale and the pedestrian experience.

The robust yet warm materiality of the building provides a deliberate contrast to the adjacent office and residential buildings. The compact building promotes synergy between the various functions, while carved, double-height spaces enhance visual connectivity. The facades act as windows to the city as the double-height spaces are oriented towards significant locations in the city such as the church, the square, and the train station. The public library and workplaces for the municipality share common qualities such as environments for concentration, spaces to work together in teams, opportunities to relax, and room to hold formal and informal meetings.

The jury selected Schmidt Hammer Lassen because of its “radical, ingenious, and comprehensive” approach to the assignment. The jury continued by stating, “The proposal is flexible and offers opportunities to continue questioning and developing the building in every sense. The end result is an optimistic future monument for Dordrecht.”

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