Casanova+Hernandez architects | A062_Court Building. Campus of Justice


A062_Court Building. Campus of Justice

Madrid, Spain

The master plan of the ‘Campus of Justice in Madrid’ is characterized by the cylindrical shape of the buildings proposed by the urban planners.
The proposal ‘Gravitations’ follows the cylindrical perimeter on one hand, but at the same time it is far away from a tectonic massive cylinder.
The proposal creates a ‘place’, a space within the perimeter that doesn’t follow its traces and that is sheltered by a light and fragmented structure.

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The design of the building is based on a basic unit, a prismatic volume 8 meters wide and of variable length, that shelters independent programmatic areas. The basic units are intertwined within the same level in order to create more complex functional groups. The overlapping of these groups on different levels generates a system linked by vertical elements and by horizontal platforms that act as terraces-corridors with natural light and ventilation and that provide a good orientation system within the building.

The circulation system presents three clear routes: one for the staff, another for the prisoners and the last one for general public. Inner space and circulations are part of a complex system that guarantees space, light and views over the surroundings from the routes within the building.

The building is conceived as a ‘nest-like structure’ composed of independent intertwined elements piled up on top of each other around a central space.

The building is divided into three parts:
The basement (levels –3 / -2 / -1 / ground floor)
The upper structure (levels 1 / 2 / 3 / 4)
Vegetal lattice skin

Three levels of the basement are buried. They receive light and natural ventilation thanks to the courtyards in the perimeter of the building.
On ground floor, the basement articulates the accesses to the building and its relation with the rest of the Campus.
The main hall is designed as an extension of the public square placed between the building and its light outer skin in front of the main gates. From this point the visitors will enjoy full overview of the different levels of the building and a rich architectural space defined by the different platforms.

Upper structure:
The upper structure is formed by the assemblage of the ‘basic units’ on the levels 1,2,3 and 4.

In the interior of this macro-structure, a central space of high spatial architectural richness is placed. The changing position of the units will generate a great deal of perspectives that will guarantee dynamism within the space. This effect will be also reinforced by the natural light that will be filtered through the interstices among the volumes.
The use of transparent and translucent materials reinforces the spatial feeling of lightness, specially visible at dusk when the volumes radiate light from within.

Vegetal lattice skin:
The exterior limit of the cylindrical volume is materialized by a copper lattice light skin that works as structural support for a vegetal façade. Through the vegetal façade, the volumes appear reinforcing the image of a ‘floating’ building on a fragile vegetal wall. The copper lattice skin protects the working areas from direct sun light and it also works as acoustic and climatic barrier. It generates visual comfort when seen from the working tables.

The introduction of nature in the design of the architecture breaks the typical rigid image of the Administration of Justice an serves as ‘humanizing’ element of the institutions, getting them closer to the citizens.

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Campus de la Justicia de Madrid S.A.
Court Building
Competition. Finalist / Honorable mention
13.400 m²
Arup. Madrid, Spain
Arup. Madrid, Spain