The Council Chamber of the City of Antwerp: Harmonizing History & Technology
The historic Antwerp City Hall, dating back to 1565 and built in the majestic Floris style, has served as the beating heart of the city for centuries. With a rich history, this building has undergone a major renovation in which modern technology and historical charm harmoniously come together.
Lynn Lodewyckx, Head of the Decision-Making Service of the city of Antwerp, puts it aptly: "Integrating modern IT into a building that is over four centuries old was no small feat. Our biggest challenge was organizing meetings in a modern way without compromising the historic character of the council chamber." A renewed U-shaped arrangement of the room promotes dialogue between the city council and the board, a transformation that reinforces the original purpose of the space.
When choosing new equipment, functionality was paramount. The city of Antwerp conducted a thorough market analysis to ensure technology optimally supports the council processes. Additionally, there were unique challenges such as preserving historical furniture, integrating cabling during the renovation, and creating an appropriate lighting atmosphere in the council chamber.
Thanks to the uniCOS conference units from Televic, a solution was found that fits perfectly within the context of the city hall. The units are luminous, aiding in lighting the space, and are user-friendly. They also support hybrid meetings, essential in today's digital age. The control desk in the center of the council chamber allows Lynn's team to manage everything centrally, from screen projections to camera settings.
What is particularly noteworthy about the technology is how it helps reduce stress. The cameras operate automatically; as soon as someone activates the microphone, the camera follows that person. Essentially, nothing needs to be done manually. There are also presets available, such as for an oath-taking ceremony, that can run fully automatically. "In this way, the technology reduces the level of stress, a stress that you really can do without during a city council meeting," notes Lynn.
Axians, the integrator, adds: "A unique location obviously requires a unique solution. Together with Televic, we have been able to achieve this, based on years of trust and partnership and excellent service from Televic."
For users of the council chamber, the new system is extremely user-friendly. They have the freedom to choose the content they want to see, and the speaker queue system ensures a smooth flow during meetings. Thanks to individual speakers, the sound quality is excellent.
With a successful combination of history and modern technology, the council chamber of the Antwerp city hall is not only a beacon of tradition but also a model of innovation.