Sola Town Hall

A proposal for the municipality of Sola, Norway, 2015

Three wings were placed together in a U-shaped configuration to form the layout of the Town Hall. Together with an existent adjent building, they define an interior courtyard partially covered. This main open atrium becomes a gathering space that facilitates social contact and interaction. It can host a variety of town-related events and becomes a meeting point for those who work inside the building. At ground level, a wide open lobby connects the courtyard to the adjacent street Rådhusgata. It becomes a direct route to the canteen and the covered bike parking.

In order to maximize flexibility, the program is distributed horizontally, with main functions organized on separate levels as follows: Level 1 (street level): Levekar, Felles, Levels 2 and 3: Sentraladministrasjon, Level 4: Samfunnsutvikling, Helsestasjon, Level 5:Oppvekst. The last level benefits of a terrace facing South, towards the main road and East towards a future town plaza.

With the exception of the two service cores the arrangement of the interior partitions is completely free. Storage and acoustic furniture are used to divide spaces, reducing the number of proper partition walls. The three wings which compose the building vary in depth. Thus, they allow several work environment typologies per level.

A multi-space layout with team meeting rooms, lounge areas and quiet spaces all placed alongside the workspace zones, and a combi-office layout with workspaces located directly alongside the facade while indirectly illuminated inner zones are occupied by chat rooms, quiet rooms or storage. For this type of working environments a highly sound-absorbing acoustic ceiling is necessary. 

To encourage social contact and within the building several lobby spaces were added next to the main circulation cores. Together with the 2m wide central circulation and the service cores, they increase the total area of the building to 7600 square meters gross.

To facilitate a future connection and expansion into Building D, the heights of the levels are kept the same: 3.3m, while the usable height is 2.7m. The connection is designed as a separate volume that could be added in a later stage, reaching up to +9.9m and increasing the total area of the building with 560 square meters gross

The floor plans and facades are modulated on a 1.35m grid, which is ergonomically adequate for a landscape workspace, allowing future reconfigurations. The facade has a glazing proportion situated under 50%. This reduces the external heat input and also benefits from a higher thermal mass to improve air quality and to reduce energy consumption. Losses via thermal transmission through the envelope of the building are minimized with 250mm thick exterior insulation and double-glazing. During the summer months the sun screens integrated in the ceiling can help reduce overheating. Natural ventilation is achieved throughout openable windows reducing the risk of Sick Building Syndrome.

A wood finishing was chosen for the entire building due to optimal behavior under changes in temperature, extended life spans with minimal recurring costs and natural ventilation of the facade, adequate in humid environments.  

For the future development on the site, two other possible volumes are proposed to the North and South, with a height of 17m and a similar alignment to the main road. The Southern volume, together with the future Town Hall and Building D can define a new town plaza.