New County Council Building Competition

Urban Planning and Volumetry

The current headquarters of the County Council is located in an area with a deconstructed urban character made up of several elements: an axial socialist assembly to the north, unfinished (asymmetrical), which has the County Library as its final major point; from west to east a boulevard (Dorobanților) increasingly weak constituted; to the south, a green ledge that is the only convincing plant presence and to the east a new church spatially outlined by the ledge of some socialist and new blocks. The deconstruction is amplified even by the undersized presence of the current building.

The expansion of the current building comes with a great contextual pressure from four directions that define this urban point as a joint and lead the new building towards a compact mode of occupancy. By extension, the existing body grows vertically and horizontally to fit the Dorobanilor Street volumetricly through the footprint and alignment to the ledge. The presence to the boulevard is dominated by a stone facade. To the west, in relation to the axial socialist assembly, the building withdraws to the top to keep the symmetrical distance from the main point, the Library. The space between the buildings here outlines a new urban market, a representative space, towards which the new headquarters are oriented and opened through transparency, an atrium and new accesses. The extended arch of the ground floor, in addition to articulating the volume built with the green ledge and facilitating access to it, is an urban-scale response to the northern curved front of the Marasti market, thus completing the urban ensemble along the length of the Library Lane. The green ledge, already reached by the ground floor of the new building, has the potential to support new pedestrian, light and transverse links. These new connections can be doubled by the vegetal contamination of the urban context towards the boulevard and the green pillar of the Library Alley, currently disconnected by the sidewalks, but which by means of a reconfiguration of the streets can be attached to the sidewalk adjacent to the Marasti bazaar. To the south, the building is contaminated by its vegetation through a greenhouse and loggias that regulate the thermal comfort. To the east, the urban space defined on three sides by the cornices of the adjacent tall buildings is closed on the fourth side of the new volume, which offers a transparent and representative facade to the church in the center of the urban space.

Underground parking

The car access in the proposed underground parking is carried out in a unique way, by accessing the cars in the basement of the County Library on the west side, linking the two basements and exiting the new headquarters of the County Council on the existing ramp on the east side.

Internal organization

The building has two new main pedestrian accesses from the new western market. Inside are two main vertical circulation nodes and an escape ladder between them. The existing one, reserved for officials, with controlled access to the ground floor, extends to the upper floor of the 6th floor. From the 6th floor it is intended for visitors with controlled access from the reception of the chief architect. The new traffic node is for visitors, a representative element that links the ground floor with the levels accessible to the public up to the 5th floor through a series of indoor platforms animated by vegetation, organic connection with the outside and various socializing spaces and informal discussions. This node is completed by the two elevators attached to the atrium, which provides access from the underground parking to the 6th floor.

The new multipurpose room is on the ground floor to facilitate public access, with direct access from the atrium which also acts as a foyer. The wardrobe is also accessible from this space. The presence of the green slope here is achieved by a cut that lets the vegetation down into an outer courtyard.

The restaurant is located on the 1st floor with a direct connection to the terrace above the ground floor, which connects the slope building. The restaurant is also close to the multifunctional hall when they need to work together, and supports the proposed pedestrian connection along the slope.

Floors 2-5 are dedicated to the office spaces, and the 6th floor, together with the aforementioned roof, includes the direction of the Chief Architect.

The new evacuation ladder solves the conditions given by the fire safety regulations.


Atriums are considered the heart of public buildings, as not only are the main spaces where social activities take place, people gather/socialize, but they also connect to nature (green/sun spaces) to improve the interior environment, microclimate and comfort level of buildings. Although the positioning of the atrium is atypical, it retains its role as an interface between the interior and exterior, between the administration and the citizen, also having an important representative role.

The atrium transposes into space the idea of ​​transparency of the relationship between the institution and the public. The meeting spaces with visitors for informal discussions take the form of interior balconies, open spaces that run throughout the height of the atrium. These spaces are subdivided by vegetation to make the direct relationship between administration and citizens as natural and human as possible. It is very important for the public administration to show openness in terms of its activities, both for the business community and for the inhabitants of the city/county. City administration around the world is facing the challenge of reconnecting with their citizens. This link is essential for building confidence in the public sector at the local level, as a cornerstone of communities geared towards sustainable development and quality of life.

Energy concept

In order to establish the degree of energy efficiency of the building, the CO2 footprint calculated from the manufacture of the materials used in the construction, from the construction process but also from the use of the building for the purpose for which it was created is calculated. In this respect, we propose the use of local building materials, obtained from local producers, whose transport does not imply significant CO2 emissions, from the brick masonry to the proposed Viștea stone on the facades.

We propose the use of both passive and active methods of energy efficiency of the building. Considering the orientation of the building, one of the passive design methods used is the opacification of the facades in the North-South direction to reduce losses, respectively the excessive accumulation of heat, and the glazing of the East-West for proper lighting of the interior. This system will also favor the natural ventilation of the spaces.

The atrium is also a passive method of heating the building in winter, but also cooling during the summer, by using automated mobile windows on the atrium roof. The grassy terraces help absorb rainwater and keep the temperature constant. Rainwater is collected and reused for irrigation of grassy terraces and toilets.

The solar and photovoltaic panels ensure the production of electricity necessary to cool the building in summer, respectively the hot water for underfloor heating used in winter. The thermal adjustment system of the building is also complemented by the heat recovery system, which makes the air recirculation in the building more efficient, making energy consumption more efficient during the seasons.


PROGRAM: County Council Building

STATUS: competition 

SURFACE: 5000 sqm

LOCATION: Cluj-Napoca

YEAR: 2019

CO-AUTHORS:  MoDstudio, Oana Rus

COLLABORATORS: V&V Projekt-energy efficiency concepts, Fenici Kevin-renders