Law Courts

France Go Full Screen

Interpretation of An Heritage

Civic buildings represent civic power. A justice center represents the power of justice. What is at stake here is the image of justice, its symbols and character. Public buildings carry a heritage of recognized signs that cannot be disrupted without risk. The architecture proposed here is a modern interpretation of the heritage of signs associated with justice. I have just tried to justly define what an appropriately “just” architecture is, from the long view across the river, through the façade, down to the interior details. It is an exercise of architectural composition, of objectification. It is about translating words like justice, fairness, equality, balance, dignity, and character - and their crossed definitions with other words, other concepts - into constructed signs. The structure is rigorous, the vocabulary formal: screens, transparencies and reflections form an environment that conveys the essential, open impartiality of justice.
Jean Nouvel

STATUS Inaugurated 2000
LOCATION Quai François Mitterrand, Nantes, France
DATES 1993-2000
PROGRAM Hall of Justice, court building including civil and criminal court
CLIENT Ministry of Justice
ARCHITECTURAL TEAM Jean NOUVEL - Ateliers Jean Nouvel
PROJECT MANAGER Isabelle Guillauic
ASSISTANT PROJECT MANAGER Gaston Tolila
ARCHITECTS Jean-Pierre Bouanha, Anne Favry, Hafid Rakem, Michel Calzada
JEAN NOUVEL DESIGN Aurélien Barbry, Henriette Denis
CONSULTANTS
ARTISTIC Jenny Holzer
ENGINEERS Ove Arup And Partners, Isateg
CONSULTANTS Cabinet Casso
ACOUSTICS Jean-Paul Lamoureux
FACADES Jean-Louis Besnard
TECHNICAL CONTROLCEP
​GROSS FLOOR AREA 20 000 m2, 200 000 sq.ft
​NET FLOOR AREA 15 000 m2, 150 000sq.ft