Text description provided by the architects. The law courts in Haarlem consist of four buildings, and since the most recent renovation, all that remains of the original 1890 court building designed by W.C Metzelaar is the facade. The complex, which houses the Family, District and Civil courts, has a gross floor area of around 11,000 sqm and is characterized by multiple differences in level, the product of repeated renovations over the years. The resulting ensemble of buildings is completely integrated with the urban fabric of the historical centre of Haarlem.
More images and drawings following the break.
The design strove to maintain the character of the existing complex while improving and optimizing the organization and structure. Utilization of existing strengths, like the beautiful courtyards, the stately buildings and the distinctive front facade, served as the starting point for this design. By means of a number of interventions, including additional stairs and new lifts, the internal routing was improved and the two heritage buildings were better integrated in the overall plan. This structure makes for a more flexible and efficient use of the building, which in turn allows for continued sustainable use by an ever-changing organization, within the existing context.
Thanks to the integration of modern mechanical and electrical systems, the spaces are now more serviceable and, within the limitations of an historical building, fulfil the requirements of a modern work environment. Among other things, a thermal energy storage system has been installed–and this in the centre of Haarlem. The stately facades have been renovated, glazing has been adapted to contemporary security and climatic requirements, and the old entrance at the top of the stairs has been reinstated to create an appropriately dignified entrance.