Mecanoo and AYESA’s Palace of Justice in Córdoba, Spain, is finally inching toward completion and is expected to open mid-year. The Delft, Netherlands–based architecture firm recently released a work-in-progress video that swiftly showcases the final steps in the construction of their monolithic, contemporary civic structure.
The courthouse is situated in a residential area on the outskirts of Córdoba, a neighborhood full of anonymous housing blocks and views of the nearby mountainous landscape. Mecanoo’s massive piece of architecture, designed in partnership with Spanish architecture and engineering firm AYESA, stands out among the uniform brick buildings and commonplace public spaces.
While construction started back in 2015, the team won an international design competition to build the courthouse over 10 years ago. The 48,000-square-meter [517,000-square-foot] building stands today as a nod to the city’s Moorish influence, with traditional courtyards interrupting the volume of the compact design. The glass-reinforced concrete mass opens up to those courtyards with the use of anodised aluminum panels that create a striking pattern across the façade. This allows an excess of natural light and ventilation into the upper and lower courtyards as well as adjacent rooms.
The building’s program boasts ascending levels of privacy. A total of 26 courtrooms exists within the structure. On the first floor, an open concept plan includes public courtrooms, a marriage registry and a restaurant. High-security offices line the top floors of the building, while the archives and jail cells are built below the first floor. A generous, gently inclined public square invites visitors into the main entrance.