- Realization: Franki sa, Franki sa
- City: Gembloux
- Country: Belgium
Text description provided by the architects. Gembloux is a medieval city in Wallonia, which is characterized by the historical value of some pre-existing buildings: the Beffroi (Unesco heritage bell tower), the Église Décanale, and the Maison du Bailly. The municipality of the city has decided, by joining the Europan competition, to start an urban renewal process starting from the project for the new town hall.
We imagined an emblematic place in which emphasize even more these symbols, using them as extensions of the project itself, focal points of the city, elements in which graft the new building. One of the fundamental themes was the recomposition of the interactions between the park and the city: the park became a space shared by the city and the town hall, while the new building become a theatrical setting to look through.
The new building is located into the irregular urban nucleus in the Place de Hotel de Ville, creating a reconnection with the existing urban tissue, offering in this way the possibility to dedicate the entire southern side to the Parc d'Epinal, a garden designed as an urban park in connection with the city. The generating views on the symbols of Gembloux fragment the new administrative center into smaller parts according to the urban scale while creating a functional program divided into several areas.
The new fragments, entirely covered in copper, settle and emerge from the irregular surface of the park following the variations in elevation and creating an articulated sequence of public spaces complementary to each other. Through their juxtaposition, the volumes generate glass diaphragms, voids suspended within the relationship between the parts, places of transition, movement, and perception of the urban landscape.
It is an urban enrichment that uses the idea of a new centrality that is able to dialogue, to complete, to reveal beyond itself the character of what surrounds it. A work that keeps the connection, even materially, with the ancient voice of the city, by establishing an interaction that slowly changes according to the different weather and light conditions of the everchanging surrounding space.