© 4a Architekten GmbH

Civic Hall in Balingen // 4a Architekten GmbH

38, Hirschbergstraße, Balingen, Germany

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Modernisation and Extension of Balingen Civic Hall  Contemporary Staging After its redevelopment by 4a Architekten, BalingenCivic Hall now exhibits personality, the newly designed entrance areareflecting openness, generosity and high quality in an appealing and invitingway. The successful combination of old and new not only gives the Civic Hall a
contemporary look, but it also opens up all manner of possible uses.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

The keypoint here is that, although it has been extended in terms of area, the Civic Hallis now distinguished by its more economical use of energy. The redevelopment first had to address an essentialpart of the project, namely to repair structural damage. The floor in theentrance hall needed to be elevated in order to prevent any movement in thesubsoil from deforming the floor plate.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

There were additional spatialshortcomings with regard to the foyer, the artists’ dressing rooms and therestaurant: The foyer of the existing Civic Hall was clearly too small forlarger events, meetings and conferences, while the lack of accessibility to thelevels where events are held also forced the town into action. The aim of theredevelopment was to adapt the Civic Hall to today’s functional requirementsregarding public buildings and to upgrade its architecture.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

The first planningstage dealt with defining where structural work needed to be carried out andwhich areas of the Civic Hall were to remain intact. The central components ofthe redevelopment were the foyer, the Small Hall, the restaurant and theconference rooms, while the Large Hall required no refurbishment. The greatestchallenge lay in combining the old with the new in such a way as to create aunity of design.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

4a Architekten succeeded in this by interlocking parts of thenew functional areas with the existing fabric of the building, so giving riseto fluid transitions. The exterior of the Civic Hall was given a completelynew appearance: The two-storey glass façade of the entrance hall, which was moved approximately ten metrestowards the forecourt in relation to the original building, indicatestransparency and openness towards the town.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

Its striking folded shapedelineates an expressive edge to the building, marking a clear boundary to theneighbouring indoor swimming pool. The new look of the Civic Hall is roundedoff by the wide panoramic stairway between the buildings and the redesignedforecourt. Viewed from outside, it is now a real eye-catcher while at the sametime offering generous views from its interior.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

On the top level of the foyer –
the gallery – visitors can enjoy clear views of the Balingen town church. Thegenerous and open design of the foyer has given it particular character: Threevariously shaped levels, connected by air spaces, provide over twice the areaas that of the original foyer.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

The refurbishment involved the use of materialsin keeping with the festive character of a civic hall, such as wooden-stripceilings and smoothed plaster surfaces. The spacious stairways stronglyinfluence the shape of the interior and ensure that the building functionssmoothly. The variously sized window elements in the folded external wall allow
daylight to enter the building in a most interesting way.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

The windows haveglass cases between them in which work by Picasso and Miró, amongst others, areexhibited, so adding to the unique ambience of the room. Light    lines set flush with the ceiling and wall indicate theflow of visitors on the ground floor and create striking highlights within thestreamlined design of the foyer. The restaurant is accessed via a second set of stairsin the entrance hall, with the possibility of separate access.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

A bright andcheerful atmosphere awaits guests in the restaurant, inviting them to feelcomfortable and enjoy their surroundings. With its ceiling-high façades and large outdoor terrace, it is almost like arestaurant “in the green”. The basic structure of the Large Hall was left intact- only the lighting was replaced to optimize the building’s consumption ofenergy.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

One particular feature is a graphically designed partition wall made
from black MDF located between the Large Hall and the foyer. This can be raisedfrom the floor as required, so extending the various ways in which the area canbe put to use. The engraved lettering adds a very particular note to the roomand forms part of the new corporate design: the Civic Hall will now bepresented by an elegant logo in the form of an abstracted ammonite. The particular geometry of the Small Hall posed amajor challenge for the refurbishment: point-symmetric rooms present particulardifficulties with regard to producing good acoustics, while the existing airconduits on the ceiling and the varying height of the room also had to beconsidered.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

Although these arrangements allowed limited scope for the design,an architecturally exciting solution was successfully developed. The ceilinghas the form of a rotary engine, with rings twisted towards each other andtapering upwards, producing a very unique atmosphere within the room. Indirectlighting and direct spotlights were set into the spiral-shaped levels. Theyellow, orange and red shades of the ceiling catch the eye and now lend afriendly and modern ambience to this previously dark space.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

The folded panelsin the wall are faced with wooden strips and form an additional enhancement tothe room’s acoustics. To create more space in the Civic Hall for stageproperties and the artists’ dressing room, a concrete slab was placed in frontof the artists’ entrance on the rear side of the building, so extending theinternal floor space while ensuring that deliveries can be made smoothly.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

Atthe same time, this modern element does not seem like a foreign body but fitsin harmoniously with the existing hexagonal architecture of the Civic Hall withregard to shape and alignment. Key considerations in the redevelopment were both thesafety aspects of the new ordinance regulating places of assembly as well asthe introduction of an energy-saving heating, ventilation and lighting system.Around 60 per cent of the construction costs were spent on the energy-relatedrefurbishment of the building services equipment.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

For example, the heatingdistribution has been replaced with energy-saving pumps and control equipment.Heat recovery in the ventilation systems reduces energy consumption whileimproved energy efficiency has been achieved by optimizing the central buildingcontrol system.    This redevelopment has not only given the Civic Hall anew face but it also meets the latest technical and energy standards: despitebeing significantly extended in terms of area, it excels in lower energyconsumption.

© 4a Architekten GmbH

© 4a Architekten GmbH

In addition, the generously designed foyer opens up diverse newpossible uses and offers ideal conditions for increasing its appeal to visitorsand guests from around the region. .

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