The space in between...

Monday 14 Jun 2010

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."

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Civic Buildings

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