Published on - 13-Sep-2018
Amrendra Pratap Singh
The architectural of court buildings in India is very diverse with both elements of traditional and modern elements. Famous examples are the Supreme Court at New Delhi in the traditional style and the High Court at Chandigarh, which is modern. What is important in a court building and also has been reflected in an earlier example is the aspect of monumentality in both interior and exterior spaces in terms of scale. In order to ensure the comfort and convenience of the users the proper organization of interior functions with the combination of fluid circulation is critical. In a typical court- there are 4 groups of users, for who separate circulation route should be provided- 1. Judges, 2. Advocates, 3. General public and litigants and 4. Prisoners and their security guards. It is imperative for the architect to segregate these circulation routes as none of these groups should come into contact with each for security concerns.
The building must represent the values of the city with being in constant dialogue with the surrounding space. Multiple open spaces must be generated to make the building more porous and lively. These spaces can also be used as shared public space for multiple utilization. Such buildings present an opportunity for the designer to use architecture as a tool to connect with people in several layers.
The scale of court buildings is another well-discussed issue. Although the building must be monumental in terms of volume and massing, at the same time should be respectful of its context as well. The proportions and the verticality in the facade can be used to give the building a monumental look, which is also evident in contemporary Indian Court buildings. Modern materials can be used to enhance the architectural features of the buildings and to provide a contemporary look. Integration of Proportions and symmetry in facade may provide an aesthetical and rhythmic expression to the building.
Locally available materials can be used to make the large-scale building fit better in the context. The transparent envelope will contribute in blurring the lines between the outside and inside. Light and Ventilation are crucial aspects of a functional building. Sufficient punctures must be provided in the rooms for optimal airflow. Skylights can use used to create a stack effect in the building.
The design must promote Sustainability by the incorporation of low power and energy efficient fixtures and fittings. Besides this, the provision for self-shading ceilings and Solar panels on the rooftops can also be provided in the design. Additionally, the construction must be carried out in AAC Blocks which is more environments friendly than the average brick. The design can also provide provisions for Rain Water Harvesting, Solar Water heating, Fire management Systems for long-term efficiency.
We interviewed the young architect who has worked on the design of Indore District Court to get an idea of the ventures he faced:
1. What was the greatest challenge you faces while designing the court building?
I think the most challenging part for me while designing the court buildings was the proper structuring of interior spaces in a functional way, ensuring sufficient daylight and ventilation. A court building a complex structure with a very specific hierarchy of spaces and as architects it is our responsibility to respect that and design in a very humane way. For example, the public space must be carefully segregated to the areas judges. Now the key is to design with all these constraints- a compact yet porous building, which is aesthetical, inviting and user-friendly.
2. Which part was most interesting to design?
The most interesting part would be to design the main court building. So the Indore District court has been primarily designed in 2 parts- the main court block and the service block. Both of these have entirely different functional requirements but should be well connected. The main court building is where the courtrooms and other facilities for judges are placed. The interrelationship between the interior spaces is what fascinated me the most in this building. For example, the design must also facilitate close interaction of judges with administrators.
3. What is the most important idea one has to keep in mind while designing a court building?
I feel that the aspect of security is something you must always think of throughout the design. These large public buildings entertain various kinds of people-from civilians to judges and lawyers and public offenders, which must not come into contact with each other unless it is really required. Therefore, the planning must ensure segregate circulation for all these users for the building to function effectively at all times. Beside this, there must be sufficient breakout spaces for everyone. These can be accommodated in design in the form of courtyards, terraces etc., which can be used as spill out and provide a breathing space to the building.
4. What sort of images must a court building portray in the society?
Being a public building, it must be inviting and engaging to the public. In terms of the exterior and massing, I think it must reflect the image of monumentality- not in a flaunting or arrogant way but in order to enhance the feeling the reverence towards law.