Palace of Justice
Francine Houben of Mecanoo architecten has received official approval by the municipality for her design of the Palace of Justice in Córdoba, Spain. Francine Houben presented the design to the mayor of Córdoba, the city council, the Consejeria de Justicia and the Spanish press. Mecanoo won the international competition for the Palace of Justice in March 2006. The 48,000 m2 complex is inspired by the layout of the centuries old Moorish city with its many patios. The complex features an impressive 20 courtrooms as well as a wedding room, a forensic institute, offices and a café. The building costs are estimated at €70 million. Construction begins in 2009 and the new Palace of Justice will open in 2011.

Patios

The new Palace of Justice is as a city within in a city. In order to achieve the building massing plan; sections were taken from the street plan of the old city within which the required volume including its patios were fitted. The many patios provide light and ventilation in adjacent rooms. Moreover, they endow the large building with a strong identity of its own that suits the climate of Andalusia and Córdoba’s Moorish character. Palm trees grow in both the lower and higher patios. Because of the compact organisation of the building, space is left over for a large, slightly sloping square that provides the building with a clear entrance. The complicated programme of functions has been solved with a strict arrangement whereby the higher the function the more inaccessible it is to the public. The building is set on a plinth. The courtrooms, wedding room and restaurant represent the most public part at the entrance level. Above this, on the upper patios, are the secured offices. The archives and prison cells are located below grade.

Filigree

The exterior of the Palace refers to the traditional architecture of Córdoba with its perforated facades. A gossamer-thin pattern filters the light and absorbs heat. The filigree gives the building an elegant appearance. Applied to the facades of the patios are ceramic panels in different colours which contrast with the other facades.




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