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This complex of buildings combines the various legal departments of the governments of Barcelona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat which had previously been dispersed across 17 buildings in the two cities. Designed as a new city quarter rather than an individual piece of architecture, the programme is broken into eight separate, but interrelated buildings scattered informally across a public plaza. The size, scale and positioning of the buildings help integrate them into them into their surrounding context while a consistent architectural language unites them with a singular identity.

The site – previously a military barracks – is at the border of Barcelona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and adjacent to two major roads leading to the centres of the respective cities. These, combined with an underground station on site, ensure optimum accessibility. The new combined City of Justice required 240,000 square metres of floor space, and includes four judicial buildings with law courts, a judicial services building, forensic sciences building and two commercial blocks with ground floor retail. Together, they improve efficiency and flexibility while providing space for future growth.

The total composition attempts to break down the enclosed and classical approach often used for this typology, instead creating relationships between the different working areas, public areas and landscape. No two buildings are placed parallel to each other creating a varied sequence of outdoor spaces. All eight buildings are conceived as formally restrained orthogonal blocks with load bearing, in-situ concrete façades. Each has a contrasting, although muted, colour tone and vertical, recessed windows.

The four law-court buildings have ground floor courtrooms and offices above and are linked by a continuous four-storey-high concourse, which acts both as a filter and a gathering point overlooking the plaza. In contrast to the main buildings, the concourse structure is black and white, and has a more free-form plan. Its external walls are mostly glass, with woven mesh screens in front of frameless glazing, serving both to filter the light and improve security.