VAN DEN BROEK & BAKEMA, 1963-1972, Oostelijk Bolwerk 4, Terneuzen
Raadhuis Terneuzen / Town Hall Terneuzen ( Van den Broek & Bakema )
© 2004 Jan Derwig

Van den Broek & Bakema

Tom Kruijne
Jos Weber
Dick Paul

Koen van Velsen

Government buildings

Town Hall Terneuzen (Extension)

This town hall stands on a prominence on the dyke along the Westerschelde where the old village and the new housing developments meet. It consists of a central core from which floor slabs cantilever in four directions. Upper storeys spiral up at half-level intervals in a spatial interlinking into which the stairs fit naturally. This spiral construction about a core is further strengthened by staggering the upper storeys. Other examples of Bakema's spiral buildings are his Expo Pavilion in Osaka (1970) and an unrealized design for the Euromast (1957). The core contains the lifts, toilets, services and plant. The ground floor houses the public functions, with some space reserved for cultural activities. The main entrance is emphasized by the council chamber above it. The upper storeys also contain office spaces and rooms for the burgomaster and aldermen. Lastly, on the fifth floor is the civic hall with a balcony and a spectacular view. The cantilevered upper floors consist of prestressed girders proceeding in four directions from the central cast-in-situ concrete core and resting on hinged columns. The third floor's structure is not filled in as yet, allowing for future extensions; a sort of temporary pergola on the roof. Facades have concrete block infills between precast beams. Lower fronts and window and door frames are of hardwood, as is all the interior woodwork. A robust use of material and an expressive articulation of functions (constants in the work of Van den Broek & Bakema) have here resulted in a building verging on sculpture, a building whose outward appearance fits remarkably well in its context of shipping and waterways.
A new near-cube housing the municipal offices to a design by Koen van Velsen welds the old centre of Terneuzen to the town hall.