David Chipperfield's City of Justice 18.06.09

words William Wiles

David Chipperfield Architects has completed Barcelona City of Justice. This 330,000sq m government complex will house all of Barcelona's courts and judicial offices, and even include some offices for the neighbouring city, L'Hospitalet.

It consists of eight towers, four of which are linked by a four-storey concourse building. It might seem like quite a forbidding piece of urbanism, but Andrew Phillips, project director at Chipperfield, says that the mood of the place is actually quite restful. "If one imagines one building with one architectural language, it would feel very much less open, however transparent it was, it would feel much less open than this idea of a scattering of buildings," says Phillips. "The architectural consistency between them I think makes for a very calm place."

The towers are built of cast structural concrete, pigmented to give each a subtly different pastel shade. Only 50 percent of the facade is glazed, but Phillips says that the interiors are nevertheless very light: "The corridors are actually really bright - it's amazing how much light you get in Spain." You can read more in the August issue of icon, out early next month.

image Inside the four-storey concourse building
picture Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

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