Administrative architectures


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City of Justice of Barcelona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat

David Chipperfield Architects. David Chipperfield y b720 Arquitectos. Fermín Vázquez

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The City of Justice of Barcelona is an ambitious project that greatly affects its urban environment and whose objective is improving the administration of justice, to this end building a complex programme of nine buildings with different shapes, colours and heights. Four of the buildings are joined together by a great atrium, understood as a circulation element that will distribute 130 judicial examining organs, penal and civil courtrooms. The rest is destined for legal activities, auxiliary uses and activities complementary to the legal proceedings, while one of them will have complementary uses of a social and tertiary nature.

The different legal departments of the city of Barcelona and of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat were hitherto spread around buildings in the two cities, with the logical consequence of a series of continuous functional problems. The grouping of all of them into a new City of Justice provides the advantage of a greater efficiency of the system, allowing the work spaces to adapt to the constant transformation of the legal organ and, with an evident criterion of functional sustainability, a reserve space has been planned that in future will permit any possible expansions. The different volumes are located in a space situated on the limit of the two cities, on a site previously occupied by military barracks next to the Gran Vía, one of the major access roads into the centre of Barcelona and Avenida del Carrilet, one of the principal arteries leading into the urban nucleus of L’Hospitalet.

The most significant and characterising proposal of the project is that of fragmenting its ambitious programme –covering 241.519,92 metres square of built surface– into a series of separate yet interconnected buildings arranged on a space determined to operate as a public square. The buildings reveal themselves as measured blocks, with load bearing facades in reinforced and coloured concrete. The proposal also seeks to balance out the different relations between work areas, public zones and landscape.

There are four buildings grouped into this atrium designed with the will to operate as a loggia: building A (Examining, Family Courtrooms), building B (Penal Courtrooms), building C (Magistrates Courts) and building F (Prosecutor’s Office and Minors). A second group is formed by a series of buildings, to some extent autonomous, that fulfils the most varied functions. Two of them integrate a suite of legal facilities (building G, or Institute for Legal Medicine), and building H (Courts of l’Hospitalet de Llobregat). Buildings J and D are destined for auxiliary uses and activities complementary to the legal proceedings, while building I will have complementary social and tertiary uses.

The atrium building becomes the principal public space of the complex and is the main relationship and circulation zone of the Judiciary City. With only four heights, its volumetric impact is lower. It operates as a street that distributes and filters access to the legal facilities. This element also permits articulating the entrances to the City of Justice while giving them an indispensable presentation and relationship space in a programme of these characteristics.

The imposing facades, which transform this complex into a true urban “icon”, are in coloured concrete poured in situ. The pigment is added in the dosing and not later and therefore becomes part of the mass. While the smooth texture can be observed in a close-up view, colour plays a fundamental role on a global scale. The diversity of volumes and their undifferentiated treatment are complemented by the colouring, which identifies each one of the buildings: there are six colours for eight buildings. The pigments are basically iron oxides except for the green, which is chrome oxide, with one of their most outstanding characteristics being their great stability (they will not vary under the effects of UV rays). They are also indissoluble and inert.

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Localización: Gran Via de les Corts 111, Barcelona. Autores: David Chipperfield Architects. David Chipperfield, arquitecto. b720 Arquitectos. Fermín Vázquez, arquitecto. Equipo DCA: Grabielle Allam, Motohisa Arai, Tomomi Araki, Albert Arraut, Mario Cotone, Luca Donadoni, Martín Eglin, Takayuki Nakajima, Andrew Philips, Giuseppe Sirica, Melissa Johnston. Equipo b720 Arquitectos: Francesc De Fuentes, Pep Aviles, Antonio Buendía, Sonia Cruz, Albert Freixes, Ileana Garcia, Yolanda Roma, Guillermo Weiskal, Ricardo Shultz, Carlos Fragoso, Francisco Márques. Constructora: U.T.E. Ciudad de la Justicia (Fomento, Ferrovial, Ohl, Comapa y Emte). Estructuras: BOMA. Jane Wernick Associates. Instalaciones: Grupo JG. Consultores: Joan Gallostra. Arup. Consultores de iluminación: Artecluminotecnia. Arup. Consultores de costes y mediciones: Tècnics G3. Tim Gatehouse Associates. Consultores de fachada: Biosca & Botey. Estudio Marshall. Consultores de paisajismo: Manuel Colominas. Wirtz International. Consultores de planeamiento urbano: Estanislau Roca Arquitecte & Associats. Consultores de acústica: Estudi Acústic H. Arau. Imagen digital: Carlos Pascual; David Chipperfield Architects, b720 Arquitectos, Studio Toni Yli-Suvanto. Maquetas: b720 Arquitectos, David Chipperfield Architects, Miquel Llunch, Matthew Marchbank, Vista Models. Fotografía de maquetas: Richard Davies. Fotografía: Christian Richters.
Fermín Vázquez
David Chipperfield
Londres, Inglaterra
b720 Arquitectos
David Chipperfield Arquitectos