Barbosa & Guimarães' Gouveia law courts in Portugal

A single monolithic white cement volume suspended over the square

by Malcolm Clark
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The new Gouveia Law Courts in Portugal inaugurated last year, were designed by Barbosa & Guimarães Arquitectos. The project, which replaced a demolished building, was built on a plot located between two public parks, at the end of Rampa do Monte do Calvário.

The building stands on four large “pillars” to ensure transparency and a connection between the two gardens that enclose it to the north and the south.

The features of dignity and significance that typify a building like a Law Court, are obtained by creating a single monolithic, white cement building, whose compact façades, consisting of “empty spaces deeply excavated”, make it seem to be suspended above the plaza.

A large staircase opens onto a patio that gives access to the Court floor. The lobby crosses longitudinally the entire building, communicating directly with the garden to the north and establishes a close relationship with the existing gardens.

Inside the volume, the courtroom stands out with its series of vertical skylights that cleverly illuminate the entire space.

    Gouveia Law Courts 117

    Gouveia Law Courts

    Gouveia / Portugal / 2011