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DIA – Dittel Architekten has developed a new structural corporate design for the E5 town hall in Mannheim and is responsible for the renovation of this listed building. The aim of these architectural and artistic measures is to establish a design that is representative of the building whilst ensuring safety throughout the entire building. The renovation of the foyer was the first phase of realising the concept. In a non-open, interdisciplinary planning competition, the architectural firm’s concept prevailed over the competition.

The city of Mannheim is characterized by economic strength and tradition. The town hall is the first port of call for requesting help and information. The values of quality, transparency and community form the basis of the new design. Stemming from these values is an open and modern spatial design concept which integrates high-quality materials and colours that convey identity. The barrier-free glazed entrance provides an initial view into the bright, modern space, which features accents of colour in the characteristic shade of red which is part of Mannheim’s corporate design.

Spatial zoning allows each area to be recognised quickly. Upon entry, employees use their chip card to pass through access control. Visitors turn right to go to the constantly-manned reception desk or left to the information and waiting zones, which have interactive touch panels and a comfortable lounge area. High-resolution screens provide a detailed guidance system throughout the area as well as information about the city. All reconstruction measures are implemented with protection of the listed building elements.

The combination of a smooth, soft sand-coloured resin floor, white walls and acoustic plaster ceilings creates a bright space which is neutrally lit with energy-saving lighting. Suspended pendant lights which hang over the furniture in the reception and information areas emphasise the function of each area and support the zoning. The subtle material and colour concept is rounded off with furniture made from solid wood-quality oak and high-quality mineral laminate as well as with shades of red in the fabric and a sheet steel doorframe.

The step-free entrance and wheelchair-friendly furniture exemplify the consistent barrier-free concept. As part of the ongoing renovation of the entire building, which measures approximately 15,000 m2, the foyer forms the first completed construction phase. The architectural office is simultaneously developing design guidelines as a basis for all future structural measures of the city Mannheim.

Design: DIA Dittel Architekten GmbH
Photography: Daniel Vieser & Martin Baitinger

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