KAAN Arkitecten create accessible courthouse in Amsterdam
Largest legal facility in the Netherlands opens its doors
The new Amsterdam courthouse has opened, with its first legal sessions held on 3rd May. As the largest courthouse in the Netherlands, 140,00 verdicts a year are expected to be delivered inside the building’s 50 courtrooms, which will house 1000 staff. Design and build for the facility was carried out by consortium NACH (New Amsterdam Court House), which included TenderStream member KAAN Architecten, together with Macquarie Capital, ABT, DVP, Heijmans and Facilicom.
The accessible design by KAAN Architecten, one of the initiators of the consortium, is founded on the principle that in a state governed by the rule of law, jurisprudence is a public affair woven into the fabric of everyday life. Large windows in the lower half of the building allow views into the building from the street, while the spacious foyers provide ample room for visitors, lawyers with their clients, reporters, and defendants. The central hall and its escalators run alongside an enclosed garden, with courtroom floors opening into areas of space and light.
Where the building and city merge, the entrance is furnished with a south-facing square that takes up a quarter of the site, featuring the same light grey paving and benches as the interior. The canopy over the entrance stretches an equal distance into the indoor space, uniting the two. A low-rising ramp minimizes any sense of obstruction between the city, the square, and the courthouse, even though the structure is slightly raised for security against collisions.
Next to the square’s reflective pool is work of art by artist Nicole Eisenman, entitled ‘Love or Generosity’. A figure symbolizing the act of gatekeeping, dressed in contemporary clothing, holds symbols representing wisdom, strength, patience, progress, and courage. The figure appears to have picked up a small owl, an arrow, and an acorn, which stand for the resilience of society.
TenderStream Head of Research