- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 27 Oct 2020
Bordeaux Law Courts
Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP, now Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, RSH+P) won the international competition to design new law courts for the historic city of Bordeaux in 1992. The design was for a building that would, through a feeling of transparency and openness, create a positive perception of the accessibility of the French judicial system. The brief was complex, requiring complete separation of public and judicial circulation. By pulling the building into its constituent parts, the resulting transparency encourages a sense of orientation, rendering an historically imposing institution more accessible.
Key elements of the design include the creation of public space and integration with the existing urban landscape. Public entry to the building is via a flight of stairs placed to the side, leading to the ‘Salle des Pas Perdus’ at the core of the building, where lawyers, their clients and the public meet.
The seven courtroom pods are clad in cedar, raised on pilotis above the limestone plinth within a great glass curtain wall under an undulating copper roof. The administrative offices are reached by bridges spanning the atrium – the clarity of the plan ensuring that different secure routes across the atrium are maintained both for the public and for magistrates. With its use of irregular forms and natural materials, the building successfully complements its sensitive environs, including a section of the city’s medieval wall. A strong emphasis is placed on effective passive control systems. The pods are shaded beneath the great roof and manually-operated brise-soleil windows along the western façade reduce solar gain. The flask-like volumes allow daylight deep into the court rooms and, through their height, ensure temperature control through stratification. The glazed box wrapping around the chambers, with its sun-screening and ventilation systems incorporated within the roof, functions as a breathing container. In addition, the podium and offices are built in concrete – a very effective passive heat control system.
- Place / Date: Bordeaux, France 1992—1998
- Client: Tribunal de Grande Instance
- Cost: £27 million
- Gross Internal Area: 25,000m²
- Architect: Richard Rogers Partnership
- Structural Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners/OtH Sud-Ouest
- Services Engineer: OtH Sud-Ouest/Ove Arup & Partners
- Quantity Surveyor: Interfaces, Ingèrop
- Acoustic Consultant: Sound Research Laboratories
- Cladding Consultant: Rice Francis Ritchie
- Landscape Architect: Dan Kiley/Edward Hutchison/Branch Associates
- Lighting Consultant: Lighting Design Partnership
- Main Contractor: Spie Citra Midi Atlantique
- Site Management: OtH Sud-Ouest
Featured articles and news
CIAT winners announced in virtual event.
Projecting domestic and commercial environmental trends.
Pushing the boundaries of the creative process.
Report from CIOB and i3PT published.
Air rights for developing above existing properties.
New national seismic hazard maps for the UK.
Six technologies guiding O&M into the future.
Homes carved from sandstone cliffs in England.
A review of the HES pilot project.
Organisation alerts membership to findings of IHBC research.
Four outstanding professionals recognised.
Sustainable flooring from super strong grass.
Organisation presents reactions from industry leaders.