City of Justice

Barcelona (Spain)
GISA + Departament de Justicia
Total Area
232.369 m²
David Chipperfield Architects


Barcelona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat’s new judicial complex is a cluster of office blocks that were previously scattered across 17 buildings in the two municipalities. The new City of Justice centralizes these judicial departments to resolve their former inherent dysfunction for the benefit of citizens and staff alike.
The 240,000 m2 programme is distributed across a series of blocks in a shared public space that runs along the gap between the buildings. This fragmentation distances the complex from the traditional rigid image of justice, and permits a more respectful coexistence between this large facility and its neighbours.
Four of the nine buildings are interconnected by a continuous four-storey high atrium that acts as an internal distribution route, filtering access to the offices and structuring the complex between two major avenues.
The unity of the complex is expressed in the common treatment of the facades, structural walls with seriated perforations. The contained, repetitive distribution of the fenestration provides suitable lighting and sunshading and also a sense of serenity to the judicial functions, announcing the gravity of the events that take place in the courts.
The buildings are designed as measured, uniform blocks that balance the relations between work, public and landscape zones. The volumes are only differentiated by the variations in their size, layout and the stains used in their coloured concrete walls: robust walls, designed to last, like the idea of the administration of justice.