Nestled within the housing blocks of Arroyo del Moro in Cordoba, Spain is the new Palace of Justice courthouse. Competition winner Mecanoo and Ayesa began designing the project in 2006, and the building came to fruition from 2014-2017.
The 48,000m2 building will help strengthen the neighborhood's public identity, the design team says. The program includes 26 courtrooms, a wedding room, a Forensic Institute, offices, a cafe, an archive, a prison, and a parking garage. Mecanoo shared more details below.
“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,” Mecanoo describes. “This results in a puzzle-like structure that hints its process of formation and emulates the experience of the dense historical center 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.”
“The building is elevated two meters above 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.”
Inside, “a central spine creates a circulation axis, which connects to the various 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 as you move higher up the building. On ground level is an open ground floor where more public spaces like courtrooms, a marriage registry, and a restaurant are located. High-security offices are situated off the upper courtyards, while the archives and prison cells are found below ground, Mecanoo describes.
Find more project images in the gallery below.
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