Three characteristics of the site emerge as the foundation for the organisation of this project. The first is the connection between King Street and Victoria Park along Gaukel Street, the axis of which is shifted off-centre in relation to the site. This acts as an initial indication for the composition of the civic square. The second characteristic is the small scale and fine texture of the immediate urban context. The third is the presence of King Street as a civic address for the new City Hall.
The strategy for the project proposes to fragment the programme into a set of discrete volumes in order to break down the overall building mass and thus respond to the scale of the surrounding buildings. Two primary volumes are introduced along College and Duke Streets which, with the existing wall of the Mayfair Hotel, create the Civic Square on King Street centering it on the pedestrian approach from Victoria Park. The garden and landmark tower anchor the southwest corner of the square; together with the new building on College Street they frame the view from King Street looking west.
An exterior pedestrian path from the civic square leads through the site to the northwest corner facing the entrance to St. Jerome's School, continuing the pedestrian approach from Victoria Park and reinforcing the interaction between the City Hall and its surroundings.
The new City Hall is organized around two central public spaces; the exterior and interior civic squares. Each provokes a distinct reading of the elements of the building; the exterior a more sculptural, enigmatic perception of the elements housing the programmes, and the interior an actual engagement of them through the use of the building. Thus, the volumes accommodating the mayor's office, committee room and council chamber exert an equally strong but subtly different presence on both the interior and exterior civic squares. Similarly, the volumes along College and Duke Streets which house the departmental offices present a face to both the interior civic square and the surrounding urban context.
The assembly and use of materials - stone and metal on the primary volumes, glass curtain walls as connectors and screens - create an interplay of solid and void. The principal circulation in the building is organized to provide views to the exterior and facilitate orientation within the building by using the interior civic square as a reference point. Varying degrees of transparency and quality of light are achieved through the use of clear, tinted, and sand-blasted glass.
Internal partition walls are treated as objects free of the main building grid. Their construction - ranging from translucent fixed screens to moveable rolling walls - acts as a set of signals marking programmatic events.
The importance of King Street as a commercial artery leads to the insertion of a tower at the garden's edge to act as a landmark. The tower acts as a flexible technical device for special events. Its metal structure accommodates a lighting system, one large mobile panel, and a series of smaller stationary screens for reflecting light or viewing projected images. The principal panel can be raised, lowered, and rotated to maximize sightlines depending on the scale of the event. In its lowest position it acts as a backdrop for outdoor performances in the civic square.
Two routes have been established for public circulation to the council chamber and its balcony overlooking the interior civic square. The first leads from the King Street level, through the square, and up the grand stairway to the balcony. An alternative route is by a public elevator, adjacent to the entrance from the exterior civic square, to a walkway at the council chamber level overlooking both civic squares, and landing on the council chamber balcony. This elevator also leads to a rooftop lookout providing a panoramic view of downtown and Victoria Park.
The mayor and aldermen, located on the fifth level, are given access to other departments by the elevator core located in Building 1. Two routes have been created to link the mayor and aldermen to the council chamber. The first leads from their offices along an enclosed bridge and ramp to the Aldermen's lounge, with a direct link to the council chamber provided by a private elevator. A more public route - coinciding with the alternative public route - has been provided from the committee rooms across the walkway above the interior civic square. The mayor and aldermen's offices are directly related to the fifth floor roof terrace, and exterior equivalent to the inte¬rior civic square below.
Provisions have been made for short-term expansion (ten¬ants area) on the first two floors of Building 1. Future expansion of 4600m sq. has been provided for in the north side of the site, thus minimizing the changes of spatial proportions in the interior civic square. The proposed expansion would add three floors to Building 2, where structure would be designed to accomodate this at the time of initial construction. This addition would follow the curve of the Duke Street facade but would be built in glass curtain wall to clearly demarcate the new extension.
The north-east corner of the building would accommo¬date a volume placed on pilotis whose foundations would already be in place. This block would provide horizontal expansion space for offices on floor 4, 5, and 6. The mechanical system in Building 2 would be compartmen¬talized to avoid the necessity for a mechanical penthouse and thus allow for vertical expansion without the need to shut down the mechanical system. All mechanical and electrical equipment for elevators in Building 2 would be located in the basement to facilitate vertical expansion.
(From Competing Views: The Kitchener City Hall Competition.)
28 scanned / 15 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Site Plan
- Axonometric Drawing
- Axonometric Drawing