City Hall Almelo - Designed on a tight budget for BREEAM-NL Excellent certification
City Hall Almelo - Designed on a tight budget for BREEAM-NL Excellent certification
Designed by Kraaijvanger Architects, the new building is an eye-catcher near the waterfront in Almelo, the Netherlands. The ambition for the new City Hall of Almelo was clear from the start: BREEAM-NL Excellent. Together with the sober and practical budget, the high ambition represented a unique challenge for the integrated design team. In April 2015, Almelo City Hall opened its doors to visitors and employees. The project is an interesting example, as it shows that highly sustainable buildings are possible with current technologies and under very tight budgets.
Primary project use
Public Institution
Project Type
New Build
Spatial Scale
Single Building
Site Characteristics
Sectors of Innovation
  • Built Environment
  • Energy
Type of Innovation
  • Technical
Origin of the idea
  • Government
Time to Market
Operational Now
Project Status

The newly built City Hall has a gross floor area of 20.800m2. Almost 9% (1.820m2) is accessible for the public. A completely transparent ground floor provides pedestrians with a view of the entire city hall. This is where, amongst others, the wedding hall and public hall are situated. Above the ground floor, on the 1st floor, the council, the administrative areas and the conference center are situated. The parking garage is situated on the 2nd floor. Cars can reach the garage only via a special car elevator. The design team chose for this system because it is more environmentally friendly than having a regular carpark where visitors drive to their parking space.

Sustainability measures:
In their statement of requirements, the municipal council demanded an ambitious BREEAM rating of 4 stars (BREEAM-NL Excellent). The available budget (€1300/m2) would be sufficient for a normal office building or a school, but not for a large City Hall, let alone a highly sustainable building. By incorporating several techniques and technologies, the developing parties were able to design a building that meets the municipality’s demands.

The building is designed to be compact and to make optimal use of natural light. A recurrent problem in offices is overheating, which requires additional cooling. Therefore, north-facing windows are enlarged, whilst the south-facing window surface is reduced. To further reduce the energy consumption for lighting, LED-lights and daylight sensors are installed. Concrete core activation (CCA), extensive insulation measures, combined with an ATES-system (Aquifer Thermal Energy) and heath pumps provide the building with a sustainable system for heating and cooling. The ATES-system is unique to the region of Almelo because of its complex soil structure, which only rarely allows the application of such systems.
In order to build a compact City Hall that would reduce the amount of construction materials needed, an innovative approach was taken. A smart integrated flooring system provides a flexible space for the necessary installations. This means that for piping and construction, only 60 centimeters of space per floor was available, whereas the standard is 90 cm. In total this saves almost an entire floor’s worth of construction materials. Moreover, nearly 95% of all waste generated during construction was separated in different waste streams and offered for recycling.

The design process of the building features an innovative approach. When the design team met for the first time, there was no plan whatsoever but the goal was clear: to build a BREEAM-Excellent building. The team worked instensively together for a week in a so-called “pressure cooker”. Having all disciplines together allows for the creation of an integrated design for sustainable buildings.

In short:
Start construction: July 2013
Building officially in use: April 2015
Investment Budget: € 58,765,578
Surface area: approximately 20,000 m2
Height: 49 meters
493 flexible workplaces
100 parking spaces for visitors
350 places for bicycles in garage

Project partners: Kraaijvanger architects, Construction company Koopmans – J.P. van Eesteren

Image credit: Courtesy of Kraaijvanger architects

Creator of profile
  • Roger Toussaint, MSc.
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