The striking new courthouse in the town of Almendralejo, Western Spain, is juxtaposed within its triangular footprint and its more traditional surroundings.
The geometry of the plot and its proximity to an adjoining residential area determined the organisation of the building into two volumes, functionally joined together but distinguishable by their exterior.
Following construction processes based on sustainable models, the design and execution of the building has been developed using local materials such as granite and cherry wood. The concept of the project was to incorporate the building into its environment, not only physically, but to make it a part of the social fabric of the area. Thus, the building emerges as a granite mass, typical of this area of Spain. A courtyard at the heart of the building, a traditional concept in southern Spanish architecture, connects the two volumes of the building.
The main entrance resembles the prow of a ship with the facade being constructed mainly of glass. This portrays a sign of transparency and clarity, important symbols in the process of justice. A majestic double height atrium greets visitors on entrance into the lobby which acts as a landmark for the whole building.
The public areas are lit and ventilated through an inner courtyard, which allows the building to provide greater control over its energy use. The courtrooms are interconnected by a large longitudinal corridor and on the same floor, the double height wedding hall acts as a celebration space with dramatic natural lighting adding theatrical character to the space.
The architects have made generous use of galvanized steel for many of the steel frame elements that are hidden within the fabric of the building.
Architect: E. Bardaji & Associates
Image: Jesus Granada