As one of the Netherlands’ oldest cities, Dordrecht is founded at a crossroads of rivers in the picturesque province of Zuid-Holland. Once known for its flourishing trade, to this day its rich history, wealth and culture remains visible in the city on the water.
The design for the House of the City and Region emanates from the idea of creating an “urban living room” for Dordrecht. Merging a variety of civic facilities, including the new City Hall, a library, and a tourist information and citizen centre with modern workplaces for the civil servants of the municipality, the house embodies the spirit, history, and identity of Dordrecht.
To establish a place rooted in its physical and historical context, the compact structure of the building is balanced by the synergies and openness among its various functions. On the exterior, the transparency of the lower levels creates an atmosphere of inclusivity and warmth, giving the impression of a truly accessible and inviting place. Simultaneously, from the inside views of the surrounding area frame significant locations such as the church, the square, and the canal - all characteristics to Dordrecht. Thus, the House of the City and Region will foster a continuous dialogue between the inside and the outside, as well as between its users and the broader city.
Throughout the development of a significant civic project such as the House of the City and Region, multiple stakeholder and user involvement workshops have been carried out to help inform the design and ensure local ownership and anchoring. The uniqueness of the site, the spatial diversity and visual and physical connectivity across the building and the city will not only result in a place that caters to a wide range of users, but in a place which will be experienced as a place belonging to the city and its citizens, as an extended “urban living room”.