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Published January 23 2014

Forum editorial: Intriguing concepts for Fargo City Hall

Initial concepts for a new Fargo City Hall look good. Three options presented to a committee tasked with recommending a design feature elements that have the potential to make city government headquarters a structure with a “wow!” factor.

It’s early in the process. Changes will be made before a final design is presented to the City Commission for approval. But the committee working with designers and architects is off to a promising start. Thus far, designers seem to be steering clear of a humdrum, merely utilitarian box. Instead, the necessary utility of a city hall would be showcased in an architecturally unique building.

The setting on the city’s civic complex near the Red River has to inform City Hall’s design. The three options revealed this week strive to do exactly that by incorporating natural light and views from the building’s interior to the river vista to the east. One of the designs features what was described as a “swoosh.” It’s a glassed concave semi-circle atrium that could be a mesmerizing public space at the main south-facing entrance.

Again, it’s early in the process. The options the committee viewed Wednesday are conceptual designs. More refinement and cost analysis need to be done before a final design is approved. Nonetheless, the work thus far is impressive. Add visionary to the mix and Fargo could be on the way to building a city hall that is both practical and stunning.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.