Deinze Town Hall

Tony Fretton Architects, Deinze, 2016


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View from the public gardens 

Peter Cook     Download Original

  • View from the public gardens    
  • Carefully chosen trees and a flower garden perforate the mineral square of Reinbachplein in front of the new city hall    
  • The sheltered entrance to the building    
  • Precast concerete was used    
  • The window framework is very heavy because of energy requirements    
  • Outside seating    
  • There is a high level of natural light    
  • The council chamber    
  • The staircases and elevators are positioned centrally    
  • Location plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Upper floor plan    
  • Short section    
  • South elevation    
  • Detail section    

Tony Fretton Architects has created a key building in the regeneration of the Belgian city of Deinze.

Inside the main building, the floors are organised as open-plan offices, except for the ground floor, which houses a public café with a terrace, a tourist information office and a waiting room with smaller desks.

The council chamber provides a key symbolic element in the project set against a back-drop of the main office block when seen from the lifting bridge, the church and the main market street of Deinze. The chamber volume is somewhat like that of a moot hall, with a partially enclosed ground floor space, affording a sheltered entrance to the building and access up to the grand hall. 

Had the chamber been conventionally supported by columns at each corner, the resultant structure would have restricted views toward the river. As a consequence, there is a substantial corner cantilever, the underside of which establishes the soffit height throughout the entrance volume.

In order to reveal the interior of the tall council chamber to the public, deep external shading is created by a loggia toward the river. The structure of this is in uninsulated, partially stone-clad precast concrete. The roof itself is a lightweight metal system supported on leather-clad steel columns within the chamber, enriching the space.

The council chamber roof design needed to be considered as an outlook, as the lift lobbies in the main block of the building use their visual connection with the church and lifting bridge, and thus over the roof of the chamber, to provide orientation to visitors.

Tony Fretton Architects opted for a daylit building without air conditioning; most of its heating and cooling is ground-source technology. This keeps costs relatively low.


  • Begun: Mar 2014
  • Completed: Mar 2016
  • Floor area: 800m2
  • Sector: Civic
  • Total cost: £11.6M
  • Address: Brielstraat 2, Deinze, 9800, Belgium

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