Strasbourg County Hall
The competition for a new county hall in Strasbourg, France was for a site located southwest of the town on the bank of the river Ill, exactly where historic Strasbourg meets 20th-century Strasbourg (embodied in the slabs housing the medical faculty). The site lies on the boundary between two types of urban planning, one emphasizing the traditional perimeter block, the other reflecting the ideology of large postwar developments, in which each building is treated as an isolated entity. Rather than imitate either of these, we adopted a conceptual framework that would create a new relationship between these different architectural types and offer a strategy that could be applied to similar situations. We decided that the nature of the competition site as a meeting point between old and new would justify rehabilitating the old barracks and suggest a new urban project that would clarify the relation of the historical fragments to today. more
The problem, then, was to design a complex of offices linking old and new. Fragmentation seemed appropriate for the following reasons: first, fragmentation enabled us to take into account the specific constraints of each element of the program (for example, the conference hall) without compromising the whole (for example, repetitive office floors). The fragment gives the elements autonomy while making it easier to perceive their relative importance. The varying scale of each fragment relates to the incoherent space of the historic town. It allows, through free juxtapositions, a spatial inventiveness, a poetic dimension, and a new conception of the site.
We then elaborated a precise assemblage of volumes based on the program requirements and the particularities of the site: first, the rotunda, the hinge element of the project, immediately perceptible and identifiable, articulates all other functions; second, the 18th-century building, renovated and restructured, houses many of the services as well as the restaurant and faces the old Strasbourg; the slab, which houses most of the administrative services; the “right angle,” which will extend the whole, placed on the 20th-century grid; and the base, which forms an abstract, mathematical landscape, in part treated as a garden. Together, these offer an image of the departmental reality between the historic city and the new quarters. back
20,000 sq. meters
City of Strasbourg
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Luca Merlini, Christian Biecher, Neil Porter, Jean-Francois Erhel, Patrick Winters, Martyn Wiltshire, Alexandra Villegas. Consultants: Atelier UA5 back