From Growing Pains to Growing Commitment

A modern participatory democracy requires transparency and communication at eye level in the encounter between citizen and authority. These elements have been the core of 3XN's design. "It was important for us to create a building that was welcoming, rather than authoritarian in its expression," says 3XN's Principal Kim Herforth Nielsen. 

Nieuwegein is located 5 km south of Utrecht, and since 1970 the city has grown from having just 8,000 inhabitants to 62,000 inhabitants in 2012. The strong growth in population makes heavy demands on the city administration to develop the city socially and culturally. "It's a challenge they are very conscious of in Nieuwegein. Therefore we have tried to create a building that can be a catalyst for social affiliation with the city," explains Kim Herforth Nielsen.

The five floors spread out like a fan and open up towards the bright atrium, allowing the building's visitors and employees to visually connect with what is happening on the other floors. The Mayor of Nieuwegein, Mr. Frans Backhuijs describes the open structure of the building as a great advantage for the city administration. “We are in close visual contact with the city and citizens throughout the day. That contributes to even more joy and enthusiasm when working for a better Nieuwegein”.

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