Mecanoo’s new Palace of Justice in Córdoba

Developed in collaboration with engineering practice Ayesa, this new structure celebrates the city's heritage
Story by: David Renwick
Palace of Justice building | Mecanoo + Ayesa architecture, building, commercial building, corporate headquarters, daytime, facade, mixed use, neighbourhood, residential area, sky, structure, teal, gray
Palace of Justice building | Mecanoo + Ayesa

Architect: Mecanoo Architecten + AYESAAbout the project (text supplied): The new Palace of Justice in Córdoba is located in Arroyo del Moro which is characteristically dominated by anonymous housing blocks, products of the rapid urban development of 21st century Spanish cities.

The blocks that characterise the urban fabric of the zone were not capable of generating public space or offering something new to the city, but collectively they form a compact and coherent urban identity. The addition of a public institution to the area creates the opportunity to upgrade the public realm and add a civic quality to this relatively new neighbourhood.

This responsibility to strengthen the public identity informed the concept for the Palace of Justice. While the Cordoba city centre is located south-east from the site, the building volume was condensed to create a generous entrance square to the north which connects it with the existing Huerta del Sordillo gardens.

advertisement


Palace of Justice building | Mecanoo + Ayesa architecture, building, facade, house, white
Palace of Justice building | Mecanoo + Ayesa

The massing strategy creates urban integration through fragmentation. It follows a similar strategy to the spontaneous growth process of medieval cities resulting in a volume which is carefully sculpted to adapt to the surrounding context. This results in a puzzle-like structure which hints its process of formation and emulates the experience of the dense historical centre of Cordoba.

The vertical fractures that are introduced in the building mass create patios, relating the local courtyard typologies. These fractures provide natural light and ventilation in the central zones of the large building. One can say that the sustainability of the building is not achieved by expensive technological mechanisms but by an intelligent interpretation of the vernacular architecture.

The building is elevated two meters from the street level and is accessed by the sloping entrance square. This elevation gives a symbolic power to the building while solving problems of privacy and security created by the insertion of semi-open patios. Since the Palace is divided into several independent departments, the building requires several entrances that are positioned based on both internal and external hierarchies. You can access the building either from the main entrance square or smaller open patios carefully placed along the other 3 sides of the building.

Palace of Justice building | Mecanoo + Ayesa architecture, building, facade, home, white
Palace of Justice building | Mecanoo + Ayesa

From the main entrance, the interior organisation is easily recognisable. A central spine creates a circulation axis which connects to the various the programs of the building. This space spans through several floors across the length of the building and articulates each department. It also links the public circulation with the exterior patios. The spine echoes the architectural language of the exterior massing, with multi-level day-lit voids creating sculptural atriums throughout the building.

The internal functions become more private higher up the building. At the level of the square, the courthouse features an open ground floor that contains the most public sections such as courtrooms, marriage registry and restaurant. High security offices are situated off the upper courtyards and the archives and jail cells are found below ground level.

Jan 31, 2018

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

Similar stories

The clever beachside townhouses

This sea-facing townhouse development includes a number of unique, considered touches – including hidden staircase storage Read more

Hutt City Council administration building restored on the outside and transformed inside

Great things come from great collaborations the Hutt City Council is in the process of upgrading its Lower Hutt civic heart in partnership wi... Read more

Australia’s tallest manmade waterfall

The Sydney suburb of Waterloo is about to experience a green revolution with the construction of a seven-storey waterfall Read more

Latest books

Home Trends 3403

The design of our homes – new or renovated – should be an individualistic response to our lifestyle, family set-up and budget. But there are also common requirements we should all aim for – a balance of public and private space... Read more

Home Trends 3401

If you're designing a bathroom for a new home or renovating your existing one, you'll quickly discover how involved the process can be.It's not only the challenge of how to fit the different functional zones into the often limi... Read more

Home Trends 3306

Renovating a tired and dated kitchen will not only add to your enjoyment of cooking – it can also totally transform the way you use all of your living spaces, indoors and out. But where do you start and what's actually possible... Read more