A class-A city hall
Henning Larsen Architects
The new city hall in Viborg, Denmark is a kind of icon, a symbol with a strong visual impact but small environmental footprint. The key strengths of the project are the use of new green technologies and ease of interaction with the general public.
The building is part of a conversion programme for the military barracks area on the outskirts of the city that was decommissioned in 2001. The result is a new high-quality public space for the city’s inhabitants.
The Viborg City Hall, designed by the Danish practice Henning Larsen Architects, is a minimal asymmetric volume with an irregular geometry. Lightweight and glazed at the base, it appears to float above its surroundings. It recreates a new equilibrium with the context but without any attempt at camouflage.
The two grass-roofed base blocks integrate with the main white construction, extending its volume at ground level. The top-floor cafeteria provides access to the green roof with a splendid view of Viborg cathedral.
The complex, which includes the canteen, foyer and a large meeting room, is designed to be flexible and multifunctional. However, the main feature of the building is the sculptural skin of the façade, a modular mesh behind which can be seen glazed panels reflecting the current weather conditions.
This skin fosters a sense of permeability between interior and exterior, both by day and – especially – at night, when the building seems to dematerialise and the texture of the façade becomes a simple graphic element.
The interior of Viborg city hall is organised around a large covered square, a central foyer onto which the office floors project dynamically, remaining in view.
A large central staircase with a laminar wood ramp spectacularly connects the foyer with the first floor and incorporates a novel concept of seats with coloured cushions at the centre.
The dark grey stone-effect floor, consisting of full-body porcelain tiles (Newton collection from ImolaCeramica), creates a contrasting and at the same time minimalist effect with the white and the wood of the staircase, making for an effective spatial organisation.
The project aims to make optimum use of the natural light that enters through the full-height perimeter windows, shielded by solar screens.
Environmental sustainability was one of the main goals of the project. To achieve energy class 1, along with the compact geometry of the construction itself, a range of sustainable technologies were used, including: thermal insulation with triple glazing; natural ventilation controlled by an automation system according to the air quality and temperature; mechanical ventilation in part of the building with heat recovery; heat pumps; passive and active cooling through the concrete floor and suspended ceilings; a groundwater cooling system.
ImolaCeramica, Newton series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): min.UB
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 140 mm³
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50N/mm²
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): -
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant