Works Serving The Urban Architecture Municipal Buildings Of The World

Urban Architecture and Public Buildings In The Balance Of Chaos
When the city and the culture of urbanity first appeared against the concepts of province and provincialism, it emphasized that it was the determining force of civilization. The potential of industrialized and commercialized residential areas to provide current solutions to basic needs such as education, health and security has led the rural population to flock into the cities. Of course, if we need to take a critical approach to the issue of migration that constitutes a social circulation within this framework, we should not forget the problem of demographic obesity moving from the countryside to the city.  The consciousness of urbanity is defined as the being together of individuals with different cultural colors in a hybridizing social fabric, which in a sense means “the balance of chaos”.

Adaptation to the urban fabric can be explained as the designs that have an ancient culture, aesthetics and personality, do not look like a patch on spaces and the opposite of the designs which can be described as “kitsch” (vulgarism, cheapness, imitation, incompatibility, drabness in art and life). The focus of this issue on the subject of world cities within the framework of urban and culture of urbanity is the municipal buildings, which are the public service areas of urban architecture and the most important buildings that give personality to the architectural texture. It can also be explained that the citizen can see, use and at least always feel the presence of municipal buildings in the urban fabric in many moments of their daily life without expecting a public benefit. However, in many cities, municipal buildings have been formed by the restoration of historical buildings that already have similar architectural features. Long story short; let’s visit the main municipal buildings of the world cities that have added many values to the cities where they are located in architectural, aesthetic, cultural and social terms. Enjoy.

Northerner and Calm: Copenhagen City Hall
“Happy, in that we are not over-happy,” says Shakespeare in his famous play Hamlet, in which he wrote about a tragedy in the Kingdom of Denmark. Northern European cities look sad and dignified perhaps as a illusion of Hamlet. As a Northern European city, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a very lively port city with its touristic and modern city center, museums, historical and natural beauties, where the sadness of this distant geography is spread. The city hall, named after the square in the city center, is one of the highest buildings in the city. The fact that you see the well-arranged streets of the city, Tivoli Gardens, museums and cafes in a wide perspective from the building increases your admiration to the building.  When describing architectural monuments or historical buildings in the center of a city, the cliché of “in the heart of the city” is made due to its location. It is impossible to describe the Copenhagen City Hall without using this common expression. The city is almost built around the structure.

Architectural Favorite Of The New World: Philadelphia City Hall Philadelphia, which was founded in Pennsylvania as a colonial center in the late 1600s and the first capital of the United States, is a real heaven in terms of sculpture art. And the city hall is a structure that underlines this feature of the city. The 27-ton bronze statue of William Penn on the structure, who is the founder of the city, is the heaviest design on a building. The sculpture belongs to Alexander Milne Calder, the artist of other works that adorn the building, which resembles an art gallery, and known as the architectural sculptor of Philadelphia City Hall. Philadelphia City Hall, with a total height of 167 meters with the work, had the title of the world’s tallest building in the early 20th century. The building, which is an example of the great design concept that is a symbol of power in many areas of life such as industry, science and art and of course architecture in the West, was designed by Scottish architect John McArthur Jr. and completed in 1901 after nearly thirty years of work. Considering the importance of Philadelphia in American national history, the fact that the city hall with 14.5-acre floor area and about 700 rooms and various offices for the executive, judicial and legislative bodies of the region is the largest city hall in the country makes more sense. Besides the aesthetic appearance of the building adorned with sculptures and works of art, its technical architectural details are also admirable. The building is not an unfriendly public building, but is a lively place that breathes like art works thanks to its council chamber, presidential reception room, Supreme Court of appeal and social areas. Ranked 21st on America’s Favorite Architecture List, City Hall is one of the leading architectural works that add character to Philadelphia.

Gothic Voice Of The Middle Ages: Bremen City Hall
“Urban air makes you free” is a common saying in German culture. In fact, the origin of this understanding goes back to the birth of European cities and constitutional arrangements in the Middle Ages. This effort, which tries to regulate urban peace, freedom, rights-law and organizational order within the framework of democracy, has created a serious urban tradition. The old city hall of Bremen, a typical Gothic monument was built in 1410.  Considered as one of the most magnificent buildings of medieval European culture and architecture, the building has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for making significant contributions to the transfer of architecture or monumental arts, the planning of the city and the creation of landscapes over a traditional period of time. The history of the building that solemnly touches the city silhouette traces back to the beginning of 1400s. With the concerts and events held on regular days of the week, the building is the centre of entertainment and cultural activities for the locals and tourists.

Spell Of Light And Waltz: Vienna City Hall
The City Hall Square, which welcomes the people passing by Vienna during Christmas with its fascinating lighting, colorful and lively Chrismas Markt (Christmas Market) and the parks turned into ice rinks, is located around the city hall, as the name suggests. Friedrich von Schmidt is the architect of Vienna City Hall, designed in a Neo-Gothic style, which means re-awakening of the Gothic style. When you turn your face to one of the most famous buildings of Vienna, which is an open air museum with all its streets, squares and architectural designs, you see the Austrian Parliament on the left and Vienna University on the right. Vienna City Hall, which is accepted as the center of bureaucracy and public areas, is the center of many social activities open to the public throughout the year, as well as being used as mayor’s residence.

Modern, Environmental and Aesthetic: London City Hall
Imagine an architectural design that has been designed with advanced environmental consciousness and savings functions such as reducing energy consumption, using passive environmental control systems, minimizing heat losses, and providing near-perfect sound insulation. The London City Hall, designed by world-renowned British architect Norman Foster, has been implemented on the idea of harming the environment at the minimum level by making maximum use of natural resources. This modern and bold design is located in the south of the River Thames, Southwark, near the Tower Bridge. In the building, which is one of the most excellent examples of “environmentalist” designs in the field of architecture, which has been advancing rapidly from the automotive industry to other industrial areas in recent years, all office spaces are opened to natural outdoor spaces, allowing office workers to continue their business life without breaking their connection with the environment. Even the recovery of heat released due to the digital office tools, computers and the interior lightning has been considered. This technique is based on the principle of collecting and recycling the waste energy, which is neglected in non-environmental buildings.

Building With Many Sculptures: Leuven City Hall
Leuven is one of the most important cities in the Flemish Region, a half-hour train ride away from the Belgian capital, Brussels. It is a real education city. Leuven city hall is one of the oldest buildings in this friendly medieval city. The building, of which construction started in 1439, could only be completed in 1469 as a result of various failures. It was restored after the Belgian Revolution in the 19th century, which included the southern states of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Belgium, and gained its present-day iconic appearance that its walls were almost revived by sculptural forms. The 236 figures, surrounding the main facade and both sides, symbolizing important personalities from the city’s history, allow us to consider the Leuven city hall as one of the most interesting public administration buildings in the world. There are figures arranged on three floors and it is said that the figures on the first floor contain the people who are considered important in the local history of the city, the ones on the second floor are protective saints and symbolic figures, and the ones on the third floor symbolize Leuven and Brabant Dukes of various ages.

Sad Traces From The Colony: Cape Town City Hall
Cape Town is one of the closest witnesses to Africa’s centuries-old sad story. Even though it is the favorite of tourist destinations thanks to its natural beauties, cultural wealth and the sun always in the sky, the city, which has been the home to many sufferings of human history, has a melancholic spirit maybe because of this. The city hall of Cape Town, which attracts attention not only with its natural beauties, but also with its historical and architectural buildings, dates back to the early 20th century. Constructed in 1905, the building containing Italian Neo-Renaissance and British Colonial architecture is a hybrid product of Western architecture. Such that the sixty-meter tower, which was added to the building in 1923, was designed to emulate the Big Ben clock tower in London. The large hall of the building, which has an eclectic design, hosts various concerts throughout the year. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra is the regular guest of the concerts held here.

A Majestic Structure From The Far East: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo city hall, also known as government building, is one of the most spectacular examples of modern and multi-storey architecture. The idea of bringing together every activity regarding the administrative and public order of Tokyo, one of the largest and most populous metropolises in the world, in one center makes Tokyo city hall one of the most spectacular buildings in the city. The building has a design supported by a 34-storey skyscraper with 163-meter height in the middle of the 48-storey twin towers with a height of 243 meters. The building, which offers 400,000 square meters of office space for approximately 13,000 employees, continues to attract attention with its monumental stance and splendid design, despite losing the title of the highest building in Japan, which it assumed for many years.

City Memory Of Edirne: Edirne Municipality Building
The construction of the municipality building, one of the most beautiful architectural works reflecting the city memory of Edirne, an Ottoman city, began in 1898 and was completed in 1900. In the Ottoman sources, Nazif Akanlar, who is an engineer  of the municipality and also a teacher at Edirne Harbiye School, is mentioned as the project owner. The motivation of Westernization, which had an impact on the cultural, artistic and architectural fields of the period, was reflected in the architectural style of the project as the East-West mixed effect. Although the symmetrical quadrangular plan was broken due to the tendency of the middle body to extend outward, it remained true to the main project.  Located within the classical Ottoman urban fabric, the building is on the axis of Selimiye Mosque, Old Mosque and Üç Şerefeli Mosque.  When the archival records of the building were scanned, the first documents reached revealed that the stones used in the construction of the building were purchased from Dimetoka’s Albanian quarry and timber was purchased from Rumeli-i Şarki. In the same archive documents, we understand that the building cost five thousand lira and that this price is not collected from the treasury but from the leading notables of the region.  The building, which was built on three floors (basement, ground floor and first floor) using the traditional masonry technique is located in the old center where the commercial life of the city is intense. It is known that Bulgarian King Ferdinand and Greek King Constantine stayed in the building which was allocated to some statesmen during the occupation years. The room in the municipality building, which is allocated for Atatürk during his visit in Edirne in the first years of the Republic (December 1930, has been preserved as “Atatürk’s Room”.

The Most Divine Architecture: Bursa Historical Municipality Building
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar uses a description as “The most divine architecture” in his poem “Time in Bursa”. Bursa is indeed a reflection of a divine architectural style in terms of its ancient urban fabric. Since the second half of the 19th century, when commercial activities were concentrated in Bursa, a historical Ottoman city, the municipal organization became a necessity and construction of a municipal building was started. It is said that the architect of the historical municipality building, which is estimated to be built in 1879, when Hüseyin Hüsnü Bey was mayor and Ahmet Vefik Paşa was the governor of Bursa, is Kütahyalı Şehbender. It is known that the destroyed building after the fire in 1889 was redesigned in 1902 and that today’s eastern entrance was built in this repair. The building, which has a rectangular construction plan on the east-west axis, consists of raised basement, ground floor and upper floor. There is a large hall with an oval three-flight stairs in the north-south direction. The architectural pattern of the rooms located on the north and south of the hall was applied to both the floor and the first floor. Today, many units of Bursa Metropolitan Municipality such as mayor ship, council and committee activities continue to work on the ground and upper floors. Local Agenda 21, which includes programs aimed at reaching sustainable cities, is carried out at the municipal level and is located in the basement.

Municipality Buildings As A Public Architecture And Its Effects On The City
We attached the feeling of being urban and feeling of belonging to the city to the power of capturing harmony in a hybridizing society. This means a kind of environmental adaptation. The urban individual provides his sense of belonging in the social way through his bounds to the physical texture of the city. For the individual, the city means a huge house with its city streets, boulevards, cultural and artistic opportunities as well as its architectural designs. Public architecture from a broad perspective and municipality buildings in terms of our subject matter, in this sense, are not the ordinary stone walls where the local government is controlled from a certain center. One of the most important rules in the design philosophy, “the principal of permanence of the design that touches the soul” makes municipality buildings either an invariable iconic symbol or straight-faced public structures for that city. When we evaluate many municipal buildings from the world and our country, many of which have historical features and some of them are contemporary interpretations in terms of their architectural, social, cultural, historical and social features, we have realized that the positive frequency between human and space is the life experience. With an ironic analysis, the fact that an emotional connection between stone walls and the human spirit reveals the value of urban, architectural and social analysis.


Designing Of Municipal Buildings
In today’s world, in which modern designs stand out and post-modern works are a trend with the change of art and aesthetic movements which are living organisms in one aspect, the architectural structures that contribute to the urban fabric come to mind firstly as municipal buildings. The importance of them is once more important as they are architectural symbols of local authorities in the city centers. When the municipal buildings are designed, special issues such as the use of space, the design in harmony with topography, horizontal/vertical fiction and creating spaces required in an original architectural project, as well as the relation between environment and city, office life, width of social hinterland and conformity with the urban texture or its contribution are also considered.

Icon Of Copenhagen
Inspired by Italy’s Siena City Hall, the building was built in the National Romantic style, designed by Martin Nyrop and completed in 1905. Big concerts, exhibitions and events are held throughout the year in the city center, which is just in front of the building, where the tourists in Copenhagen do not go back without taking photos keeping it in the background. The classic red stone adds a unique character and spirit to the structure. Despite being over a hundred years old, the well-kept and imposing building is the symbol of Copenhagen with the square in front and the central station right next to it.

Rocky Steps
Philadelphia is a city of painting, sculpture and architecture with its art galleries and museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is another building worth seeing, like City Hall. The stairs of the museum are known as “Rocky Steps”. In Oscar-winning film of actor Sylvester Stallone Rocky, the famous stairs that the famous well-known boxer climbed up while training are located here.

Musicians Of Bremen
The statue of donkey, dog, cat and rooster near Bremen City Hall depicting the Grimm Brother’s famous Town Musicians of Bremen is one of the symbols of the city. The sculpture near the city hall, designed by Gerhard Marcks, has attracted the attention of tourists visiting the city since 1953.

A Campus Of Education And Culture
There is a huge ballroom inside the building. Local documents use waltz, traditional dance of Austria, to describe the size of this ballroom and say it is large enough for one thousand five hundred people to waltz at the same time. The city hall, which has one of the largest inner courtyards among public buildings in Europe and which also includes the City and National Libraries, has the spirit of an education and cultural campus rather than a local government center.

Art, Environment And Future
The social activity areas of the ecology and savings-oriented structure create attractive opportunities for Londoners. The oval amphitheater covers an area of about 1,000 people in the west of City Hall and is considered a popular social area due to its structure suitable for many activities.

Architectural Identity Of The Building
The three facades of the Leuven city hall are covered with pointed Gothic windows that can be seen from the square. Each facade has its own story. There is a four-layer studded roof with parapet handrails on top. With this appearance, efforts to preserve the architectural identity of the building are still felt.

Mandela’s Office
The Cape Town CityHall also served as the office of Nelson Mandela, who is accepted as the hero of independence for Africa. In 1990, when Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison, 250,000 people listened his speech, gathered at the Grand Parade and celebrated with enthusiasm at the opposite of Cape Town city hall for the country’s free future.

Building Ornaments
Edirne Municipality Building has a flat, unpretentious structure in terms of exterior decoration. The decorations are generally concentrated around the main door. In addition to the round ornaments on the entrance, the diamond-shaped decorations on the marble are located around the door. Acanthus leaf design, which was used to decorate the column heads in ancient Greek architecture, has enlivened the arch keystone.

Facade Formıng
The Bursa city hall, which is designed as a public building, not by the renovation of a building with high historical and architectural value unlike its kind, is a work that highlights the traditional details even though it has innovative aspects that change the design understanding of the period in terms of facade formation.

A “Green Building” From Turkey: Küçükçekmece Municipality Building
Service building of Küçükçekmece Municipality Building, which is the first in Turkey in terms of infrastructure and architectural designs serving in the scale of public architecture in Turkey with BREEAM certificate, one of the world’s leading green building rating systems, was completed in 2014.  The building is based on the principle of the efficient use of consumable natural resources. It has been implemented on the idea of re-transferring the increased budget opportunities to the public thanks to environmental and convertible energy consumption.

By: Necati Bulut

 *This article was  published in the  September-October issue of Marmara Life. 

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