Seven years after building a volunteer fire station in downtown Newbern, Rural Studio 5th-year students designed and built a Town Hall for the community. Located just north of the Firehouse, the Town Hall creates a civic square in which the Firehouse and Town Hall form the North and South walls of a public courtyard space. The East side of the courtyard is bounded by a covered barbecue pit and a vegetated screen wall, which blocks views to the parking area beyond.
The Town Hall is constructed of eight inch square heavy timber cypress that serves as the building’s exterior finish, insulation, and interior finish. The 43 steel trusses that make up the roof structure provide deep overhangs to protect the walls, while the roof’s open gable ends help to vent the building. Fabricated from a series of steel angle frames, the building’s windows and doors articulate openings in the timbers by being placed fully inside or outside of the timber walls. The material palette was designed to give both physical and psychological weight to the civic building.