Antwerp Law Courts
A jury convened by the Belgian Ministry of Justice has voted unanimously in favour of proposals by the Richard Rogers Partnership for a new complex of Law Courts in Antwerp. Associate consultants for this scheme are Belgian architects/engineers Van Kerckhove B.V.B.A., Arup Consulting Engineers and landscape architects Wirtz International. Entries for the first stage of this open competition were narrowed down to three finalists before the winning team was announced today.
The most striking element of the Rogers scheme will be the sequence of dramatic sail-like roofs, visible from vantage points all over the city. Combining a number of disparate judicial functions (criminal, family, police, juvenile etc), the new Law Courts have eight wings arranged symmetrically around the axis of a central public space traditionally known as the Salle des Pas Perdus. This scheme can be seen as a natural development of various motifs and design concepts - in particular that of public accessibility and transparency - incorporated within the courts recently designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership for Strasbourg and Bordeaux.

The competition judges were particularly impressed by the architects' efforts maximise the benefits of natural light: the complex has an east-west orientation, a feature further enhanced by 'fingers' of landscaped parkland which extend right into the heart of the complex. Emphasis has also been placed on the building's flexibility and the use of natural ventilation wherever possible, as well as the recycling of rain water, significantly reducing levels of energy consumption.
Situated to the south-west of the city centre and just outside the main ring road, the new Law Courts will be located at Bolivarplaats, the focal point of the Amerikalei, one of the key arteries extending outwards from the city centre. Occupying an area of approximately 75,000M2, the project is estimated at 75 million Euros (BEF 3 billion / £50,000,000).


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