Supreme Court of Iceland

The city centre site for the new supreme court of Iceland building is demarcated on three sides by the national library, state ministries and the National Theatre respectively. The west side overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

The form of the building is a result of gravitational forces imparted by the surrounding buildings and the pressures of the enclosed spaces. It is gradually reduced in height and width towards the theatre, terminating in a roof garden overlooking a small square. The southern half of the site is reserved for a new sheltered garden.

The façades are clad in pre-patinated copper sheet set upon a hewn basalt plinth. A green frission is induced on the garden façade by pulling the copper from the building to meet a grass bank. The public entrance in the south western corner is demarcated by a sawn basalt-clad 'tower' and other points of emphasis are denoted by honed metamorphic gabbro.

Public circulation is by means of a slowly ascending walk which allows the variously sized court and function rooms to be located according the their respective scale. An independent system is employed for the internal functions of the court. The balance of raw and refined internal finishes reinforce the underlying dictum of the project; the space between the relative crudeness of crime and the relative sophistication of law.

Client : The Icelandic State
Architects : Studio Granda
Structural Engineers : Línuhönnun
Electrical Engineers : Rafteikning
Environmental Engineers : Almenna Verkfraedistofan
Acoustic Engineers : Verkfraedistofan Önn
Horticultural Consultant : Hafsteinn Haflidason

Further reading...

Icelandic Environmental Services Association Award 1998
Nordic Sheet Metal Award for Architecture 1997
Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion Award for European Architecture 1996 V edition
DV Cultural Award for Architecture 1996