Last Thursday, the City Council of Almere met for the first time in the newly renovated Council Chamber (de Raadzaal). In 1986 Almere was a Town with 40.000 residents. Today, 40 years later, the City has grown past the 200.000 residents marker. The number of council members therefor will grow with another six representatives. Time has come for the City Council Chamber to be updated to meet the new demands.
Fokkema & Partners Architecten - in close collaboration with the City Council - translated an ambitious program of demands with regard to density, accessibility, safety and installations to an open, warm and self-evident design. The design takes optimal advantage of the spacious and transparant feel of the hall while embracing unique features from the original architecture such as the translucent natural stone wall.
Improving the proximity of the public to the political process was a major objective of the renovation. The floor plan was completely redesigned and also makes the Council Chamber more flexible to use for other meetings. Beside fitting a greater number of representatives it can now be used as an elegant space for intimate meetings. The ceiling was reconfigured and outfitted with a new lighting plan, excellent acoustics and the entry of daylight through ceiling windows was restored. A unique design representing the city Almere was made by the studio Scheublin & Lindeman for the carpet at centre stage.
In 1986 the City Hall of Almere first opened its doors. Cees Dam conceived a building with two wings, each 5 stories high and with a cylindrical Council Chamber hovering over the entrance foyer. The Council Chamber is at the pivoting point of the perpendicular wings. Today it features an celebrates the many qualities from the original architecture while at the same time it carries the bright, warm and fluent signature of the public areas on the ground floor which were renovated by Fokkema & Partners Architecten in years before.
photography 1-4 Bart Buijs
other images by Fokkema & Partners Architecten