Especially the process was a challenge

Martijn Martens

Contractor Martens Aannemingsbedrijf already had years of experience in Design, Build & Maintain when it decided to enter the competition for the redevelopment of the town hall and adjoining Rabobank office in Krimpen aan de IJssel. This experience mainly involved house-building, not commercial and industrial building. Martijn Martens chose diederendirrix as an architect, and together they won the competition.

Three dialogues

“Long ago we worked together with diederendirrix on a new development in The Hague. When I visited their website for the town hall, I saw that since then they had gained a lot of experience in transforming buildings. On top of that, they had just won a BNA award. A suitable match indeed!” Team Martens and diederendirrix was selected and could continue to the dialogue sessions. In three sessions the plan was refined and tailored to the client’s needs. “These dialogue sessions were new to us, but diederendirrix was an old hand at it. They asked the right questions at the right time and they were customer-oriented. When the customer wanted to change something in the design, we considered the consequences fully and in detail. If we move a window, what are the implications on the ambitious sustainability goals? Every alteration was checked against our offer. I learned a lot from this. The clients were very excited about the design and happy that our team won.”

Contributing to the thinking process

The building was designed and built in a very short timeframe. “We were selected for the dialogue sessions in July, the contract was awarded to us in October, we started demolishing the then existing situation in December, and our new town hall was finished a year later.” It only took 1.5 years from invitation to completion. “Despite its extremely tight planning, the process was harmonious and smooth, partly owing to the architects. “Normally we often have discussions with the architect about the technical execution of a specific part. Never before did I experience an architect contributing so much to the thinking process, even about technology, process and future maintenance. Especially with such a limited budget and tight planning you have to work together as a team and reach your goals immediately. It’s a matter of give and take. That doesn’t work with starlike airs. It requires flexibility, expertise and pleasant communication.”

Proud and satisfied

“The users are all very satisfied with their new town hall and bank. The arches of the original building make it recognisable. It is new and yet familiar. For us, the project is a showpiece. Its design, sustainability and construction time, it’s a clever piece of work. It’s the most sustainable town hall in the Netherlands as yet. It shows that you don’t necessarily need big companies for such projects. A local contractor can also do the job. I frequently drive past the town hall and yes, I’m quite proud.”