NL architects has completed a major project in groningen, a city in the northern netherlands, which it describes as a ‘cultural department store’. titled ‘forum groningen’, the multi-functional building includes exhibition spaces, movie halls, assembly rooms, restaurants, and books. ‘forum groningen’ is not a library, not a museum, not a cinema, but a new type of public space where the traditional borders between these institutes will dissolve,’ explains the design team. ‘information will be presented thematically in a way that transcends the different media.’

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg | main image © deon prins 

 

 

working alongside engineering firm ABT, NL architects designed ‘forum groningen’ as a monolithic volume — a shape that represents an ambition to combine different cultural facilities into a single structure. the form is further influenced by the surrounding urban fabric, with the volume sculpted to present different appearances from different angles. ‘forum groningen’ has been engineered to accommodate finding not searching,’ the architects continue. ‘the design stimulates exploration. it hopes to catalyze the desire to wander, to browse endlessly through a staggering interior landscape.’

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

 

 

internally, the building is articulated around a central atrium where escalators traverse the void from floor to floor. ‘the void works as a spatial interface that binds all functions, movie theater, book collection, expo, auditorium, and as such hopes to catalyze the exchange of knowledge and ideas,’ says NL architects. connected by the escalators, a series of public squares emerges that provides entry to the ticketed activities. the building offers continuously changing perspectives on the surrounding city, which culminate with a roof terrace with a viewing platform and outdoor theater.

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © marcel van der burg

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © deon prins

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © deon prins

NL architects conceives 'forum groningen' as a cultural department store
image: NL architects & ABT © deon prins

 

 

project info:

 

title: forum groningen
client: municipality of groningen
delegated client: twynstragudde
location: groningen, the netherlands
size: 17,000 sqm +10,000 sqm parking area
design: 2006 (competition, 1st prize)
completion: 2019
architect: NL architects with ABT engineering

 

design team –

(NL architects) pieter bannenberg, kamiel klaasse, walter van dijk, thijs van bijsterveldt, florent le corre, sören grünert, iwan hameleers, sybren hoek,
kirsten hüsig, mathieu landelle, zhongnan lao, barbara luns, gert jan
machiels, sarah möller, gerbrand van oostveen, giulia pastore, guus peters,
jose ramon vives, laura riaño lopez, arne van wees, zofia wojdyga, gen
yamamoto with christian asbo, nicolo bertino, jonathan cottereau, marten dashorst, rebecca eng, antoine van erp, tan gaofei, sylvie hagens, britta harnacke, jana heidacker, sergio hernandez benta, johannes hübner, yuseke iwata, cho junghwa, linda kronmüller, jakub kupikowski, katarina labathova, ana lagoa pereira gomes, qian lan, justine lemesre, amadeo linke, fabian lutter, rune madsen, phil mallysh, josé maria matteo torres, victoria meniakina, shuichiro mitomo, solène muscato, lea olsson, pauline rabjeau, thomas scherzer, michael schoner, martijn stoffels, jasper schuttert, bartek tromczynski, carmen valtierra, elisa ventura, benedict völkel, vittoria volpi, murk wymenga, qili yang, yena young, alessandro zanini

 

architectural engineering: ABT with NL architects

interior design: NL architects i.c.w.: demunnik-dejong-steinhauser, &prast&hooft, tank, northern light
building engineer (incl geotechnical): ABT

structural engineer: ABT
building costs: ABT
building physics, acoustics and safety: DGMR
technical installations: huisman en van muijen HVM
acoustics: peutz

contractor: BAM
seismic engineering: ABT i.c.w. BORG & BAM advies & engineering
art in parking: nicky assmann