The Dutch city of Deventer is putting thousands of residents’ fingerprints out for public scrutiny—but it’s not for punitive reasons. The fingerprints are actually part of a unique and beautiful facade designed by Loes ten Anscher for Deventer’s new city hall, which combines the old historic architecture with a new contemporary look. Rotterdam-based Neutelings Riedijk Architects completed the spectacular Deventer City Hall, which also holds the honor of being one of the Netherlands’ most sustainable government buildings thanks to its use of energy-efficient systems that earned the project a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
The 24,000-square-meter Deventer City Hall comprises 20,000 square meters of new construction and 4,000 square meters of renovated space, is organized around two public squares, and has access to two large city gardens. The architects created strong connections between the new city hall with the surrounding urban fabric and historical context through the use of a natural materials palette, new public routes that link the main building with the city’s two most important squares, and the creation of transparent, high-ceilinged spaces filled with natural light that welcome the public indoors.
The eye-catching fingerprint-filled facade features 2,264 unique fingerprints from 2,264 different Deventer citizens. The architects collaborated with local artist Loes ten Anscher to cast the fingerprints in a series of aluminum grids that fit into oak filigree frames set within the stone facade. The intricate fingerprints are also continued into the interior and can be seen from multiple angles. To minimize the city hall’s energy consumption, the building is punctuated with windows to maximize natural light and ventilation, while a shed roof prevents direct sunlight and unwanted solar gain. The building also harnesses rainwater and water from the IJssel River for cooling and heating.
Images via Neutelings Riedijk Architects, taken by Scagliola Brakkee