The Jury rated the spatial quality of the courtrooms and the public area as high, and respected the clear organisation and structure of the design with the different organs of the ICC being clear and placed in a logical and comprehensible manner.
International Criminal Courts
The International Criminal Court
The Hague, The Netherlands
Design Competition, 2008
Dr Stephen Long
In a global environment where political and social frameworks are unpredictable and constantly shifting, the International Criminal Court needs to appear secure and reliable. Architectus proposed that the courts should read as solid, grounded elements within the broader landscape.
Formally, the building is a big box of space: a heroically-scaled, architectonic ‘pergola’ filled with natural light and lined on both long sides by protective hedges of planting to mediate between internal and external environments. The courtrooms are conceived of as solid objects – thick-walled and foursquare – lodged centrally within the pergola andon view. Each courtroom is, in effect, a courtyard – a miniature civic square enclosed on three sides by a protective thick wall containing associated offices and functions, with the fourth side open to views over the dunes beyond. To each side of the courtrooms are the cellular offices of the court bureaucracy. In contrast to the courtrooms, these are glazed, translucent boxes arranged around landscaped courtyards.
The court and its offices are located along two cross-axial ‘streets’. The courtrooms read as freestanding buildings on the four corners of the intersection of the axes, which terminate in landscaped courtyards. Additional courtyards on either side of the long axis punctuate the journey through the building. The experience is of witnessing justice dispensed openly in the light and on view to the world.