ateliers 2/3/4/ : Courthouse in Béziers - best architects 17

ateliers 2/3/4/

Courthouse in Béziers

best architects 17

public buildings


Béziers / France



Charly Broyez


A public building, open to the city by its very nature, is the urban component par excellence. It signifies, invites, brings the city to life. The courthouse plays on the duality between the urban monumentality of a judicial institution and the serenity necessary to handle delicate cases that affect people’s lives. Between stacks of three layers of rock, like stone blocks in a quarry, extends a landscaped oasis that filters the light, tempers the atmosphere and links the areas accessible to the public. The voids qualify the solids: at each level, projections and patios organise the spaces between the blocks. The stepped masses encourage the light to enter, creating internal landscapes to protect the premises from any intrusive view. Security of the façades and confidentiality are thus provided with ease. Monochrome and yet with irregularities, bubbles, scratches and bumps, the sandblasted and hammered concrete gives strength and thickness to a rustic material. A symbol of justice, the parvis is here the antechamber, the sheltered outside institution; open to urban life, it soothes, protects and welcomes. The transparency of the lobbies allows glimpses to the central patio with shadow garden, planted with tree ferns, which distributes and links the public waiting areas and courtrooms. Each detail with its formal and constructive sobriety contributes to the perception of the sensuality of the materials and the comfort of the building, and ultimately to the serene dispensing of justice.