10.5.2017

Courthouse, renovation + extension, Zwolle

The old courthouse in the citycentre of Zwolle, designed by architect Jo Kruger, dates from 1977. It is characterized by its monumental interior public plazas and sculptural closed façades made out of Muschel-chalkstone.

The new design comprises the renovation of the old courthouse and a new extension and started in 2004. One of the principles in the design: during construction and building, the court had to remain in use. The extension was completed in 2014, the renovation end 2016.

The extension is located next to the old one; at the ground floor they are spatially connected. In contrast with the closed and introverted features of the Kruger building, the new building is transparent and accessible, with its public spaces opening up to the surroundings. Its form is derived from the existing urban fabric, directions and boundaries, as well as by the heights and positions of the trees. In this way an urban coherence and new views are created.

The new building is characterized by a classic order in three parts; a closed pedestal with the entrance zone and facilities like storage, archive, prison cells, technical spaces; a public part containing the waiting area and courtrooms, council chambers and a library, elevated by an arrangement of columns; a cornice with restricted office floors. In line with its function each part has its own type of construction, installation and interior materialization.
The façade of the addition is cladded with clear glass, its form serrated like a saw-tooth. It reflects the surroundings in a fragmentized manner creating an ever-changing image.

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