Madrid Courthouse


The completion calls for the design of a courtroom in Madrid.

The building has to be circular as are its 14 neighbors, located next to it.

Circulation: Three different systems of circulation have to be set in place: judged, criminal and public cannot meet anywhere, at all times.  Is this enough a justification to have two parallel rectilinear systems of corridors that every so often take a 90 degree turn? The decision has consequences: a square courtyard challenge the smoothness of the outside shape.

The pancake strategy: a number of layers produce a pancake-like building: the hidden part (below grade) for the bad guys; the basement part for the public and the employee, the recessed third layers for judges and courtroom: all wrapped by an ethereal object, half gas meter half louver.


The architecture reflects the logic of the mechanical system: the capture the greatest possible amount of energy to minimize dispersions of various kinds. The outlook of the continuous, circular front varies: the screening is denser of looser depending on the angle at which the sun rays hit the building: a sustainable fashion of saying that we wanted to do a building that, on the one hand, recalls the images of the Arabian mosque that so much characterize the south of Spain and, on the other, induce all victims and visitors a religious mood of praying and hoping: let the justice run its course. The black tile cladding of the recessed cylinder and the randomness of the window’s pattern enhance this, making the whiteness of the gas meter stand out.


Repetition of office like floor


Reinforced concrete frame

LocationMadrid, Spain
Use: Mixed-Use, Office, Institute
Client:Private client
Design Team:

conrad-bercah, Valeria Cosmelli, Pietro Bologna, Chiara di Carlo (architectural) Giancarlo Daleffe (structural) Flavio Ranica (mechanical) Stefano Bacciocchi (render)