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Abu Dhabi Courthouse

Concept / design

The courthouses’ architecture expresses the Divine, the sublime, the celestial and the benign through a concept that utilizes referential axes to orient and organize its volumes and program.  The Spine (the main distribution element) being the first space one experiences upon arrival is based on the same concept, developed to incorporate the Religious, cosmic, functional and social axes.  These are expressed though a number of elements; lines defining direction, surfaces defining space, and volumes articulating place. The criss-crossing lines on the ground plane frame polygonal marble surfaces of various colors and are a metaphor for the multitude of paths and situations that one can face in a lifetime.

However, the volumes extruded from the striated ground plane are stark white and mostly perpendicular to the axis of Mecca allowing visitors to sit facing the Kiblah, listening to the trickling water, reading koranic verses on the facades and pondering the righteous path. Elevated surfaces allow for writing or using a laptop etc. while higher extrusions create small glazed rooms that may be used to exhibit specific items or inform on the law and history. The ground striations are mirrored by cables 12 meters up in the air that reinforce the concept and serve as a structure for screens that provide shading and double up as acoustic baffles to prevent echo and further define this majestic space.

Architecture Team

Bernard Mallat, Walid Zeidan, Amal Jaafar,        Michele Braidy, Louis El Khoury, Jean Dib, Rabih Abou Anny, Elias Samia