How can architecture represent the essence of law today, in a world focusing on decentralization and proximity? OMA’s project for the new Parisian Courthouse is a unitary building where the program is organized into three clearly identified parts: Civil, Criminal and Offices.
By inserting the tower (offices) in between the Criminal and Civil public spaces (courtrooms), OMA first optimizes the flow between different parts of the program (the tower is linked to the courtrooms with a hypercore system) while also giving a reason for height in the Parisian skyline. The emerging building, visible in the metropolitan landscape, is balanced and stable. The tower is about impartiality, discretion and the sublime.
The Criminal and Civil public spaces develop their own spatial identity. The Criminal, more introverted, is organized around a three-dimensional void. The Civil, more extroverted, looks towards the city. Each of them has a specific distribution system based on the frequency of use. To avoid the exclusiveness of an elevated Paris sky experience, the Salle des Pas Perdus — the main public space of the future Courthouse — is suspended to the edge of the Parisian rooftops.
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