New Delhi-based architecture practice Design Forum International has completed the New Courts Complex, a modern extension to the Delhi High Court. The new project was completed as part of the Delhi High Court’s ambitious expansion plan to increase capacity by 60 percent by the year 2020. Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the building was informed by passive solar principles to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures, while smart water management is practiced using sensor-operated fixtures and recycled water systems.

green space in front of tan brick building

Located in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi, the New Courts Complex mimics its predecessor with grand steps that lead to a high podium fronted with a large fountain focal point. The complex includes 15 courtrooms across four floors as well as nine registrars’ courts on the ground level. Moreover, there are 16 new chambers for judges, nine new chambers for junior registrars and additional work spaces for judicial officials. Discussion and sitting rooms for members of the bar, as well as a women-only sitting room, were also integrated into the plan. Since security was also a paramount concern, open sight lines and transparency were stressed throughout.

courtroom with skylights and wood benches

sitting room with black chairs and a green wall

“The task was to somehow create a visual vocabulary that could bridge 500 years of discordance with a harmonious note,” Design Forum International said. “The principles of green building design have been employed with a tilt toward passive techniques that require the basic design starting from the envelope and massing to be correct. In the overall analysis, the New Courts Block is a fine example of how to build a green building that is both energy-efficient, functional and aesthetic.”

Related: Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi

meeting room with white couches and a wood desk with dark green chairs

outdoor seating areas surrounded by palm trees

The outer walls of the building are built from A.E.C. blocks chosen for their thermal properties, and the roof was built with heat reflective tiles. In addition, high-performance coated glass and solar panels help reduce dependence on air conditioning. As a result, the total energy demand has been reduced by approximately 20 to 25 percent. Natural light is optimized in the entire building, even in the basement, thanks to carefully placed skylights.

+ Design Forum International

Photography by Andre J. Fanthome via Design Forum International

tall tan building lit up at night