Poetic functionalism

Almelo’s former Town Hall is in many respects a remarkable building. It is the last design in the impressive body of work by architect J.J.P. Oud. It was designed in 1965 and, following the death of the architect, further elaborated by his son – H.E. Oud – who described the design of the building as “poetic functionalism”.

For over thirty years the town hall was one of Almelo’s most important public buildings. Almelo visited it, worked in it, attended meetings, waited, complained, married and celebrated here. The transformation of this splendid building offers the opportunity of preserving the exceptional quality of the building and turning it into a new, extraordinary, residential environment that does justice to the original design.

The building was originally designed for another location in the town. Following discussions regarding urban development and the traffic engineering structure of the planned expansion, the design was built − practically unaltered – on the former Gebroeders Palthe industrial estate. Apart from adaptations to the interior it is still in its highly original, but structurally poor condition.

tekening Oud stadhuis Almelo

Desing of J.J.P. Oud

Architectural qualities

Formally speaking, the town hall does not have monument status. Nevertheless, the existing building has a number of exceptional architectural qualities that are particularly worthwhile preserving. And consequently the transformation is based on these qualities.


The transformation of Het Stads Huis

The building can be seen as a collection of three striking building volumes on a raised, basalt plinth. In the new plan, the high ceiling, the narrow interior dimensions and the remarkable triangular shape of the council chamber are used for the formation of an exceptional living environment. The homes are accessed via the existing, beautifully-formed stairways, with a staggered corridor on each floor. This creates great variety and flexibility for the housing typologies.

The original design of the town hall included a central lobby on the ground floor with an imposing, multi-storey staircase which, however, was never realised. In the new plan the homes are accessed by means of a central lobby area located at the heart of the floor plan, where a new spatial atrium reveals the staggered corridor over the various levels.

In the original design the slender, transparent curtain wall of the main volume represented an open, democratic relationship between bureaucracy and citizenry. This quality is applied here for a new, transparent façade in which cantilevering balconies and indoor loggias are also integrated. The continuous glass balustrades reinforce the image of horizontal lines in front of a play of large black frameworks.

The glass of the balustrades will be provided with a white graphic (an adaptation of the logo of the municipality of Almelo) that refers to both the original building function and the history of the place in the textile industry. Characteristic facade materials that have not withstood the test of time – such as the basalt lava in the plinth – are replaced by durable, appropriate materials in the same divisions as in the original design.


The white graphic on the glass of the balustrades is clearly visible

Residential community

The programming is aimed at a mix of target groups with a wide variety of floor plans. The apartments have large balconies and/or loggias that offer a beautiful view of the city. A terrace is being constructed for collective use on the roof of the former council chamber on the sixth floor. There is also a communal area with a small kitchen facility where residents can work of have a party, and there is a guest room for guest use. The citizen hall will have a mixed program of offices, fitness rooms, a health center and an event space.

Project details

  • Start date
  • March 2017
  • End date
  • In development
  • Client
  • BPD Ontwikkeling BV
  • Dimensions
  • 17.068 m2
  • Photography
  • Bart van Hoek
  • Visualization
  • Arlen van Rens

Want to know more about this project?

Niels Ponjee


+31 40 20 05 310E-mail