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Mecanoo

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Mecanoo and Ayesa complete the Palace of Justice in Córdoba

mecanoo PR
Apr 25, '18 8:49 AM EST

The new Palace of Justice in Córdoba is located in Arroyo del Moro which is characteristically dominated by anonymous housing blocks, products of the rapid urban development of 21st century Spanish cities.

The blocks that characterize the urban fabric of the zone were not capable of generating public space or offering something new to the city, but collectively they form a compact and coherent urban identity. The addition of a public institution to the area creates the opportunity to upgrade the public realm and add a civic quality to this relatively new neighborhood.

This responsibility to strengthen the public identity informed the concept for the Palace of Justice. While the Córdoba city center is located south-east from the site, the building volume was condensed to create a generous entrance square to the north which connects it with the existing Huerta del Sordillo gardens.

The massing strategy creates urban integration through fragmentation. It follows a similar strategy to the spontaneous growth process of medieval cities resulting in a volume which is carefully sculpted to adapt to the surrounding context. This results in a puzzle-like structure which hints its process of formation and emulates the experience of the dense historical center of Cordoba.

The vertical fractures that are introduced in the building mass create patios, relating the local courtyard typologies. These fractures provide natural light and ventilation in the central zones of the large building. One can say that the sustainability of the building is not achieved by expensive technological mechanisms but by an intelligent interpretation of the vernacular architecture.