Gallery: Civil Court for Madrid from Zaha Hadid


It is difficult to ignore the designs of Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid. Bold, brave, often controversial – her ambitious experiments in form always seem to stir discourse and debate. Hadid’s design for the new civil courts building in Madrid is no exception. Planned as part of the new Campus de la Justicia at Valdebebas in the Spanish capital city, Hadid’s Civil Court is expected to become a focal point among works from Norman Foster, IM Pei and others. While we are not always big fans of Hadid’s obsession with form, we are intrigued by the “intelligent” façade of this Madrid courthouse, that in addition to being extremely eye-catching, is intended to regulate the building’s indoor environment.

It is of course the intelligent façade that caught our eye with this design. Made of metallic panels, this double-ventilated envelope is a dynamic, moving component that will respond to the environment by opening and closing. We only have an abstract understanding based on the architect’s website, but it sounds like heating, cooling and ventilation will all be moderated and control through this intelligent façade. On the roof, these metal panels will include integrated photovoltaic cells.

The proposed 74,500 square meter (~800,000 square foot) building features a spiraling semi-circular atrium that overlooks an interior public courtyard. This space is meant to draw visitors and connect the building with the surrounding campus. The atrium also brings natural light down through the building and into court rooms.

The project is slated for completion within two years and, as with all of Zaha Hadid’s extreme designs, we definitely plan to follow the progress and check it out in its final form. Always interesting and thought provoking (both good and bad), there is something about the work of this architect that just keeps her in our sights. It will be interesting to see if her latest design for Madrid takes shape with sustainability in mind.

+ Zaha Hadid Madrid Civil Court

+ Zaha Hadid Architects


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  1. ibrahim abu touq March 28, 2009 at 4:37 am

    very bad form from very renowned architect like Zaha

  2. Inhabitat » Jean ... March 31, 2008 at 10:33 am

    […] the 2008 Pritzker, Jean Nouvel joins architects Philip Johnson, Tadao Ando, IM Pei, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid among the world’s most distinguished architects. A ceremony in his honor will be held June 2, […]

  3. Mad Architect » E... March 24, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    […] Source Tags: Civil Court,Construction,Courtyard,Facade,Pritzker Prize,Zaha HadidIf you enjoyed reading this post, you might want to subscribe or read other posts. […]

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  5. Luis Aguilar March 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    I would also like to congratulate the city of Madrid for a bold move. he civil courts are being designed by a host of the most innovative architects. It shows the way to other cities. Most cities would have chosen ordinary architecture and a more conventional design.

  6. Luis Aguilar March 21, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I think it’s an interesting design. It remains to be seen how it will work when finished. Hadid is a star architect that always gives us new, distinctive designs. sometimes it works other times not so much. Banal and boring is not.

  7. » Blog Archive &r... March 19, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    […] Inhabitat » Civil Court for Madrid from Zaha Hadid Future-forward design for the world you inhabit – your daily source for innovations in sustainable architecture and green design for the home. (tags: architecture design wow) […]

  8. Los llamativos diseños... March 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    […] Propuesta para la Corte Civil en Madrid, España […]

  9. madsidsav March 19, 2008 at 12:16 am

    The rendering looks quite good as the form is not onl;y eye-catching but also compliments the surrounding spherical buildings. Unfortunately I cannot find any cluster of spherical buildings while looking at Madrid through Google Earth. I can never decide if architects such as Gehry and Hadid choose not to integrate form with the surrounding environment or are lacking in the creativity required to combine function and harmony with artistic flare. Maybe Hadid has added the spheres to convince herself that her design is any good, and to think that this is a court. At least Gehry generally uses his most flamboyant designs for places of entertainment. I think Zaha Hadid is without doubt the most over-rated of architects in the world and the use of photovoltaics and complex methods of ventilation doesn\’t make me think that this building is any less ridiculous.

  10. Rapidinhas II | Digital... March 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    […] Nova corte civil em Madrid. Prédio bacaninha hein? […]

  11. zorkerman March 18, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Doesn\’t this look a little like a crushed coke can?

  12. jimbo92107 March 18, 2008 at 12:55 am

    I see the bowl, but where’s the handle?

  13. User March 17, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    If I lived in Madrid I would be raising hell to get this preposterous affront to humanity thrown in the garbage bin where it belongs.

    It\’s too bad starchitects (and their enablers) can\’t get over their own egos for one moment to think about what people actually desire in structures.

  14. » S... March 17, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    […] Bold, brave, often controversial – her ambitious experiments in form always seem to stir discourse and debate. Hadid’s design for the new civil courts building in Madrid is no exception. Planned as part of the new Campus de la Justicia at Valdebebas in Madrid, the Civil Court is expected to become a focal point in the city. […]

  15. Adam March 17, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    not bold, not brave. looks like a squished marshmallow

  16. paocbahn March 17, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Toilet seat for giants

  17. gmoney March 17, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    A toilet without a handle?

  18. JOHN March 17, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Squashed cheese grater.

  19. AlbS March 17, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Oh the fear of the double post.

    I’m an aspiring architect and i often look at Hadid’s work. Its an intriguing design and only being a first year student its over my head. Its good to see that having silenced her critics from her early days as an architect for propositioning the impossible she still loves to let loose with her designs. Nothing…is impossible.

  20. AlbS March 17, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Im an architecture student an i find Hadid’s work very intriguing now that she has silenced her critics from her early days for propositioning the impossible, she really does let loose with her designs. Nice building can’t wait to see it built.

  21. ArchitectsAnswer March 17, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Is justice blind-to what its supposed to serve, the greater public? I often find Zaha’s work ironically announcing herself as an architect and using her own audacity to bring ‘meaning’ or importance to her work. I am amazed that the renderings don’t include any context of what already exists in this city. Obviously, these things didn’t go into consideration. But how can a civic building serve the popularity of the architect but also address the civic nature of a courthouse? Frank Gehry set up an appropriately pretentious art museum in Bilbao and Madrid is just trying to match its audacity in all the wrong ways.

  22. Madrid Spain » Bl... March 17, 2008 at 5:43 am

    […] the rest of this great post here   […]

  23. hugo March 17, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Great design, the sweetest design I’ve seen this year. A true compliment to green design and the justice system in Spain.

  24. hugo March 17, 2008 at 5:33 am

    How a sweet building. A fantastic design (I think the most beautifull building I’ve seen this year) that complimets green design. Great work.

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