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Faris and Faris Architects | High Judiciary House

Concept & Competition Faris and Faris Architects | High Judiciary House

Faris and Faris Architects | High Judiciary HouseThis is the winning entry for a competition put forward by the ministry of public works. The main target behind this project was to create an entity to house the High Judiciary Court in Jordan, and distinguish it from the other types of courts by providing it with its own separate building. The importance of this project lies in it being a governmental facility specially designed for the implementation of the law as the higher authority in Jordan, and as such, the building assumes two images: the first lies in it being a governmental facility in terms of importance, stability, and formality; and the second reflects the concepts relative to law and order in terms of transparency, justice, independence, equality, and order. These together created the image the building undertook in order to portray these concepts and define them through the architecture and massing on one hand, and the materials used on the other.

Faris and Faris Architects | High Judiciary HouseThe architectural concepts governing the formation of the building evolved from the following:

1. Law and Protection: The use of a solid rectangular mass of stone representing rigidity, stability, durability, and formality, and forming it as a shell enveloping the building inside which is made mostly of glass, thus serving also as a protective cover from the strong sun outside, filtering it into the building via small geometric openings; and also blending the building with its surrounding built-up environment.
2. Site Topography: the slope in the site towards the main street it overlooks allowed the building to be elevated on a podium reminiscent of those used in classical buildings, thus giving it grandeur and extra exposure.
3. Location and surrounding Influences: The location of the building in Jordan’s capital city Amman has special importance due to its proximity to the royal courts and offices, and to the famous Raghadan flagpole, considered to be the fifth highest in the world. The visual forces created by this element were reflected in the building by the creation of a longitudinal axis going through the building diagonally and separating the building into three parts:
a. The Eastern part: includes offices of judges, being the users of the building
b. The western part: contains the public related areas and support services
c. The axis: the mid part of the building, connecting the previous two and at the same time separating them. It contains the entrance and courtrooms.
4. Functional and Spatial Layout: All similar functions were grouped together and distributed in a similar way so that they all receive equal lighting, ventilation, view, and accessibility
5. Heritage and Environmental issues: several elements of the building reflected the local architectural heritage in the region, thus connecting it with the general context, and the environment, and reducing the running cost as well. Such elements include:
a. The court: as in traditional architecture, the court is used to create an internal environment which provides natural lighting and ventilation without the bustle of the external street sounds. And as such, all offices were designed to overlook this court to benefit of this and to allow more interaction between the users.
b. The ‘mashrabiyya’: the patterned cutting into the external stone envelope as in the Islamic architecture provided a unified look for the building, in addition to reducing the natural light entering the building by filtering the rays and reducing exposure, thus reducing the need for AC and the power needed for that.
6. The materials and systems used: The intended materials ranged from stone to glass in both modern and traditional applications for the design. The use of stone in the facades follows the reasons and explanations previously mentioned related to rigidity, stability, and relation to heritage. As for glass, it was used due to its transparency to achieve visual connection between the external and internal environments, and symbolic of the transparency of the law and judgment. The construction systems relied on
a. Using available technologies and materials to cut on cost.
b. Using construction details such as double walls/skins to trap air and allow it to cool the building naturally
c. Using GRC for the decorated outer shell/skin due to its light weight, cost, and ease of installation.

The Building is accessed from the back, the side opposite to the main street, considering it is easier in terms of its distance from the traffic, and lies on almost the same level as the ground floor. Pedestrians also enter from that side into an external plaza connected to a small open court which forms the initial entry point into the axis separating the two major masses. The entry leads into an internal court covered by a skylight to gather visitors and users, and connects to the building horizontally via the administrative areas and offices, and vertically via the upper floors overlooking it. Also connecting the two main masses are the two court rooms located in the diagonal axis and the library, in addition to the private judges’ court which can be seen from the reception area.
Faris and Faris Architects | High Judiciary House

Faris and Faris Architects | High Judiciary HouseThe western part includes mostly the technical department, and extends from the first floor to the third overlooking the central diagonal axis. As for the eastern part, it is formed almost entirely of judges’ offices, all of which overlook the axis as well. The external part of the building is mainly used for the leisure of the employees, and is serviced by a small cafeteria, a prayer room, and services.

Location: Amman, Jordan
Architects: Faris and Faris Architects
WAF Entry: 2011
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