Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Tribunal de Paris, Paris
Featured December 2018

The Tribunal de Paris was recognized as an "Award of Excellence" winner in the Best Tall Building Europe category at the 2018 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference.

Other Featured Tall Buildings
"We realized the only way to have the Tribunal de Paris work as a true expression of the justice system was to combine the 90 courthouses and the administrative building into one instead of keeping them separate – something that had never been done before in France."

Amaury Greig, Architect, Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

During breaks in judicial proceedings, citizens and employees can enjoy the 7,000 square meter planted terrace.

Completion Date: 2017 

Height: 160 m (524 ft) 

Stories: 38

Area: 17,500 sq m (188,368 sq ft)

Primary Functions: Office 

Owners: Bouygues Batiment International

Developer: Arélia

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop (design)

Structural Engineers: Setec TPI (design)

MEP Engineer: Setec Bâtiment (design); Berim (design) 

Main Contractor: Bouygues Batiment International

Other CTBUH Member Consultants: MovvéO Ltd. (vertical transportation); Permasteelisa Group (façade)

Other CTBUH Member Suppliers: Bouygues Batiment International (concrete, façade maintenance equipment); Epexyl (interior partition); KONE (elevator)

The new Paris Courthouse accommodates up to 8,000 people per day. The building consists of a plinth five-to-eight- stories high, on top of which stands a tower of three superimposed parallelepipeds, whose section diminishes as the tower gets higher, creating a distinctive stepping profile.

The plinth gathers the public services, including 90 courtrooms. The building is entered at the ground floor level, from the piazza, into the monumental public lobby, where the flow of visitors and employees are greeted and directed. This rectangular space is the full height of the plinth, up to 28 meters, and is notable for its slender steel columns and the amount of natural light that enters via skylights and through the glazed façade that looks onto the piazza. Via this monumental room and the two small atria on either side of it, natural light can penetrate the heart of the building. Meanwhile, the eighth floor has a 7,000 square-meter planted terrace; the staff restaurant opens onto this large garden. The tower’s outline breaks in two places, on the 19th and 29th floors, where “hanging gardens” have been created.

When the competition for the project was first launched, the French government suggested dividing the law courts into two separate buildings: one for the public functions and the second for the offices. The key idea from the design team was to house all these spaces in one single, important building, which would be capable, by its size and importance, of becoming the starting point for the redevelopment of the area around the Porte de Clichy.

The imposing scale of the building is interrupted by planted decks separating each of the four cubes.

One of the other design ideas was to build a courthouse that would be in line with a new vision of justice that is modern and humanistic. The façades’ transparency, as well as the lobby’s dimensions, enable the public spaces to be open and communicate service to the citizens. Both the general public and users benefit from warm spaces, in particular the public cafeteria and the exterior green terraces.

The building rises out of an L-shaped site, between the city's ring road (Peripherique) and Martin Luther King Park. The principal building’s axis follows the north-south diagonal of the Park, giving structure to the Clichy-Batignolles development area. The south façade turns towards Paris, and the north façade towards Clichy. This diagonal terminates a “visual corridor” that leads towards the north, between the east façade of the building and the Maison des Avocats, extending to Clichy. The office façades on the eastern and western sides give views towards Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower; the north and south facades, which are narrower, look towards central Paris or towards Clichy and Mont-Valérien. Thanks to this orientation, the building symbolically opens onto the City.

Solar panels are arrayed to emphasize the setbacks between the “floating” blocks forming the overall composition of the building. Arriving in the lobby, visitors are greeted by smooth, thin columns, and daylight flooding the oversized space.

Sustainable development was one of the main concerns of the project. In terms of energy, the building is high-performing, thanks to thermal inertia, natural ventilation, and the integration of 2,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels. These add a distinctive interruption to the smooth glass of the façade, and express the government’s commitment to sustainable electricity generation in a clear design move.

This low-energy building uses about 70 kilowatt hours per square meter per year, and in some parts even 50 kilowatt hours per square meter per year, which is about half of the consumption of the most recent office buildings in La Défense. The building is the first high-rise in France to meet the “Plan Climat Paris” requirements.

The Tribunal de Paris is abundant with natural light from all angles due to its transparent façades and generous green terraces. Ground-floor plan, showing the circulation corridor at the center and secure loading area at the rear.

Related Links:
CTBUH Skyscraper Center Profile:
Tribunal de Paris