In their design proposal for the Netanya City Hall, Zarhy Architects aimed to create an urban square that functions as a space which creates a direct connection between the public entities, the residents, and the rest of the city. Their approach was to refrain from building one tower which is indifferent to the street and instead, to introduce a “campus” of municipal buildings that provides an integral public space designed to serve the residents of the city of Netanya, as a generous and active urban square. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The city square allows for a true democratization of the urban domain and at the same time it functions as the heart of the city. In this way, it represents the most appropriate architecture expressing the purpose of the municipality in a democratic society that is meant to serve all of its residents. Their construction of a city hall provides a tremendous opportunity to create an urban icon, but in our view, not an arbitrary and ostentatious image erected above the citizens, but rather one of a shared democratic vision that evokes equal participation.
The City Hall – A Horizontal Icon
Beyond being an office building and a public service center, the City Hall building also represents municipal authority. In order to express architecturally, the notion of this authority in “eye to eye level” communication with the residents, our proposal divides the volume into four buildings of a more human, democratic, and accessible scale. To achieve this idea, the four buildings will be connected together on the first floor with a public level, which creates a functional and spatial continuity between the ground floor and the square, and all the interior public areas above. This level will welcome everyone as it leads them to all public services and cultural facilities within the campus.
This is therefore “iconic”, not in an obvious and grandiose manner, but instead expressed through a real, integrated and memorable architectural element of our shared connection. It will be a prominent, identifiable icon in the urban landscape, imbued with modesty and an integral part of the city activities. The City Hall will become the framework for viewing municipal life, through the lens of architecture, where people are the performers in the ongoing dynamic urban show.
The City Hall building in conjunction with its urban square will provide an integral, sustainable solution for the city of Netanya in several ways:
Social Sustainability: - Create human scale buildings and pleasant environment for residents and visitors. - Provide urban square between buildings with shade for a variety of uses and diverse urban activities.
Economic Sustainability: - Different structures can be divided into stages of construction and thereby facilitate construction load and related expenses. - Reduce costs by using low building masses which are significantly cheaper to maintain than a vertical tower.
Environmental Sustainability: - Form a sheltered microclimate for the welfare of workers and residents of the city utilizing the four independent building volumes in “campus” format. - Implement green roofs and double glazed facades designed together to protect the interior from the infiltration of heat. - Incorporate vertical blind systems within the facade to maximize the use of natural sunlight and ventilation while protecting from direct sunlight.
Architects: Zarhy Architects Location: Netanya, Israel Team: David Zarhy, Daniel Zarhy, Shlomo Tagger, Nimrod Serok, Nahalal Serok, Chen Natan, Ben Saragoussi, Ayalae Evan-Zohar Competition Result: Second prize