About Cour de Justice Tower I
The Court of Justice of the European Communities shelters the highest instances of jurisdictional power in Europe and the concept of time is very interesting in this project; the architectural plan has followed the evolution of Europe. The first building was built in the 1970’s by Jean-Paul Conzemius, but it quickly became too small and underwent three extensions inaugurated in 1988, 1993 and 1994, by the Luxembourg based architects Bohdan Paczowski and Paul Fritsch.
In 1996, Dominique Perrault’s team won the competition to build an extension to the Court and to treble its capacity. The brief entailed unifying and extending the existing set of buildings. On the seven-hectare site flanked by main roads, the existing successive interventions formed a disparate and scattered set, obeying to different scenographies and creating an architectural style clash.
Beyond federating and enlarging, Perrault’s task consisted foremost in reasserting the prestige of the Court complex, by focusing attention on it and diffusing its concentrated energy in a crown that extends, as if by levitation, the most significant levels of the original core. In the main Court building the architect articulates the main hearing rooms with a monumental stair. The laying out of a spacious and sober forecourt to the north creates a main access point for pedestrians and cars, via a large porch under the crown to the hearing rooms.
The two towers house the offices for the translation service. From the start, the architectural project envisaged the accommodation of the translation service in high-rise buildings, whose size and visibility reflect the importance of multilingualism in the very functioning of the Court, and signal its presence from near and afar.
The façades of the towers are comprised of four types of panels; (i) an opaque panel composed of a transparent glass layer and an opaque glass layer, with a golden metallic mesh between them, (ii) a filtering panel made by the same golden metallic mesh between two transparent glass layers, (iii) a complete transparent panel irremovable, and (iv) an opening transparent panel/window.
The golden metallic mesh is made by anodized aluminum so that there is no risk of corrosion. The façades will not deteriorate, nor will the color change over time, since the anodized aluminum is a material completely mass-colored by a chemical reaction. There is no possibility of altering the color or altering the
material itself. This metallic mesh will also filter and give a golden and soft light both outside and inside.
The façades of this project have a high environmental performance. With a thermal insulation, they are designed to provide solar protection and receive as much natural light as possible to reduce electricity expenses. The principal of a breathing façade enables the integration of blinds either removable (out of slats) or fixed (out of metal mesh) in order to filter the exterior light. All façades enable natural ventilation which can be individually regulated by office users. The roof of the ring-shaped building is covered with 2,300 square meters (24,760 sq ft) of photovoltaic panels with an installed load of 400 kW.
This latest built intervention of the Court must not be read as yet another graft onto the institution but rather as an “injection”, testifying to the primacy given to linkage over juxtaposition, and unification over densification. A unity that proceeds notably by the use of an anodized aluminum mesh, handled in “sun-fold” for the two towers.