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Administrative Courthouse at the Madrid City of Justice, Madrid, Spain

Monday 14 Jun 2010

The space in between...

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Award Entry

Design for new courthouse takes inspiration from Chillida's ideas on form and space 

"I am not referring to the space outside the form, that surrounds the volume - where forms reside - but rather the space that forms create, that lives within them, that is more active the more it acts in a hidden manner."

This quotation from the sculptor Eduardo Chillida is the departure point and leitmotif for this object that experiments with the concept of plural spaces inside a single envelope. It asks the questions; "How can one be inside and outside simultaneously?", "How to be an observer as well as a participant?" and "How to join and separate at the same time?"

This sculptural work that carries within it the implied notion of a juxtaposition between two different types of spaces can only be the outcome of a programmatic analysis and fragmentation of the building. The administrative courthouse is a public space, a fundamentally public space. It needs to procure a typology for its entrance, its meeting point with a clear direction and monumental stairway, as if it were an urban plaza. The main void, resultant of the building’s form, becomes an active patio on the first three storeys, a space dedicated to the meeting of public and professional worlds. The administrative courthouse is a professional space, requiring a maximum of compartimentation where privacy and confidentiality are the rule.

The upper three storeys, dedicated to the professional activity of the courts, utilise the central void as a source of light for the administrative offices that re-orientate themselves at each level towards semi-exterior patio gardens, providing a protected exterior façade for the judge's chambers - the main 'actors' of the ensemble.

This transformation of the typical functional scheme, with its excavations within the initial volume, create a new ergonomy, a new functionality disposed by the void, the matrix of this space. That the form should be determined by space and not the other way around reminds of Debussy's assertion that: "Music is the silence between the notes."

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Group IAD

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