Antwerp Law Courts, Belgian Design, European Building, Photo, Project, Architecture

European Law Courts Belgium

Antwerp Building Development, Belgium, Europe, design by Richard Rogers Architects, RSHP

European Law Courts

Date built: 2006/07

Design: Richard Rogers Partnership with VK Studio, Architects

RIBA European Award 2007

Antwerp Law Courts Building

European Law Courts, Antwerp, Belgium
photo from ArcelorMittal

Client: Regie der Gerouwen

Construction Cost: £87m

Title: Antwerp Law Courts

Photos: R. Hoekstra and Kerremans

Material: Ugibat, by ArcelorMittal

The new law courts for the Flemish city of Antwerp is one of the practice’s major public buildings of the early 21st century. Like many projects by the practice, it reflects a vision of the city as a humane and democratic place with a commitment to the regeneration of urban life.

Antwerp Law Courts Antwerp Law Courts Antwerp Law Courts
images from ArcelorMittal

The site for the law courts is at the Bolivarplaats, on the southern edge of Antwerp’s central area, where the urban fabric is broken by a massive motorway interchange, cutting off the boulevard that leads into the city. The new building is one of the catalysts for RRP’s long-term masterplan of ‘the new south’ of the city, currently in progress.

The new building, designed in conjunction with Belgian architects VK Studio, is conceived both as a gateway to the city and to provide a link across the motorway between the city centre and the Schelde River. It houses eight distinct civil and criminal courts and includes 36 courtrooms

plus offices, chambers for judges and lawyers, library and dining room, with a great public hall (the space traditionally known as the ‘Salle des Pas Perdus’) linking six radiating wings of accommodation. This space is capped by a striking roof-structure, crystalline in form, rising above the paraboloid roofs that cover the courtrooms.

A low-energy services strategy is fundamental to this project – natural light is used to optimum effect, natural ventilation is supplemented by low-velocity ventilation for the hearing rooms and rainwater is recycled.

The building, straddling a major highway, looks out to a large area of parkland – the design creates ‘fingers’ of landscaped that extend right into the heart of the building. The landscape is configured and planted to shield the building from the noise and pollution of the motorway.

European Law Courts Belgium European Law Courts Belgium
images from ArcelorMittal

Location: Antwerp, Belgium, western Europe

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