A monument as much as a facility, Decio Tozzi takes inspiration from tradition with São Paulo's new courthouse
The traditional buildings for courthouses up to the beginning of the
twentieth century, designed according to the conceptual ideas of the
Grand Prix de Rome, were distinguished by their formal structures
inspired by classical architecture and conveyed the idea of sumptuous
The great solemn halls of Justice, the Salas dos Passos Perdidos,
exhibited this monumentality not only through the scale of the building but
also through the use of sumptuous construction materials.
The conceptual issue underlying the design of this courthouse was how
one may propose, within a democratic metropolitan post-industrial
society, a new formal structure, a semantic expression of such an
important type of public building architecture and at the same time to
make its insertion in the city capable of expressing a singular relationship
carrying both meanings, that is a metaphor of the metropolis in itself.
The previous solemn hall, authoritarian and majestic, finds a new
meaning: the Law Square, designed to represent a new square for the city
of São Paulo. On the ground floor level there is a restaurant, a bank, a
telephone center, a post office, a bookshop and a 500-seat auditorium
which is open to the community.
The vertical circulation is made through twenty fast lifts, four of which are
restricted to the private use of the judges. All the floors are interconnected
with a system of multiple ramps that very effectively comply with the
required circulation of approximately 20,000 people per day.
The glass roof covering the Law Square is placed at the height of 72
meters above the ground floor level, and was treated as a feature of
modular design that has the characteristics of a muxarabiê suspended in
the air, an effect obtained simply through the alternation of different
polyvinyl butyral interlayers - a sunlight controlling panel within the square
Since it was so designed the space configures a new square in the city of
São Paulo due to its scale and volumetric configuration - a square bathed
in sunlight but protected from rain and wind, proposed as a meeting place,
a space for social intercourse and harmony between peoples.