Italy-based demogo studio di architettura was one of the winners of the Europan 10 Architecture Competition. Their project, Town Hall of Gembloux is located in Belgium (Between Bruxelles and Namur), in a city of 22,600 inhabitants.
More images and architect’s description after the break.
Description of the site
The site is situated in the medieval centre near the tenth century city wall. It used to house a 13th century dungeon which is currently the location of the Maison du Bailly. With its rocky promontory housing the belfry, the abbey and the decanal church separated from each other by the Grand’Rue (main thoroughfare), these are the control points of the Orneau valley.
The medieval centre is covered by a buffer zone demarcated around the belfry. The belfry itself is one of a series of belfries in France and Belgium which were placed on the UNESCO world heritage list in 2006.
Description of the project
The idea of project is born from the wish to emphasize the symbols of the city of Gembloux, to establish a strong dialogue between the new administrative town pole and the context, in order to imagine the ”Beffroi”, the “Eglise Decanale” and the “Maison du Bailly” as prolongations of the same project.
The new building grafts him in the urban nucleus on the ”Place de d’Hôtel de ville”, creating a re-stitching with the existing fabric, offering the possibility to devote the whole south side to the “Parc d’Epinal”, a garden thought as an urban park open to the city.
The generating sights on the symbols of Gembloux fragment the new town pole in smaller parts in conformity with the urban staircase and they create a separated functional program in more fields.
The new fragments settle and emerge from the irregular surface of the park exploiting the variations of quota, they constitute two new public spaces complementary one to the other. Established in different quotas the two squares are parts of the ascensional route: city – town hall – park.
The city is enriched by the expression of a new form of centrality: an idea that goes beyond itself , that dialogues, completes and reveals the character of its surroundings.