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Old Town Hall Harderwijk

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The municipality of Harderwijk decided to repurpose the vacant Old Town Hall to accommodate a contemporary cultural centre, and to make it a truly public building again. MIR architecten and Buro Mos decided to preserve the original setup of the historic building and at the same time make it more useable for its new functions.

New life for a historic building

In order to preserve the existing interior elements and harmoniously combine them with contemporary solutions, the architects have carried out an extensive research at the preliminary design stages. The complexity of the project required the involvement of different fields of expertise - from cultural plan developers to gifted builders and decorators. 

As a result, the old and new elements are not regarded as opposites but are well-balanced and tuned into each other. This idea of a subtle integration of past and present is applied in the spatial setup, the technical detailing and in the interior design of different spaces.

The vestibule, dating from a radical redesign in 1837, is restored as the communication hub of the building. The design of the colonnade with solid oak columns, wall panelling, doors and cornicing is based on historical research, however their detailing is abstracted, leaving it to the attentive spectator to figure out what is old and what is new. 

The 1727 council chamber is the baroque showpiece of the building. Previous restorations had compromised the coherence of the interior to such a degree that it needed a substantial redesign as well. The design team made an extensive plan to return the space back to its original splendour, integrating the restoration of the historical interior and the technology required for a museum environment.
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Heritage and function combined

In order to bring life into the old town hall and make it truly public again, the design team created various interdisciplinary spaces inside. Among them are a local cultural institution, a wedding venue, tourist centre and a pop school – organizations with very diverse target groups.

The acoustics of the space was also treated with great care. To allow all these different organizations to co-exist in one building, architects implemented various sound-dampening solutions. Mute Flow acoustic panels were applied on the walls of the rehearsal and music rooms. Each room has its own colour - marine, dark green, pink and yellow. As a result, both acoustics and aesthetics of these spaces received a vibrant upgrade. 

To learn more about the project, read the story by MIR architecten.  
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In this project