LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice
by C+S Architects

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This mysterious dark gable facing the Piazzale Roma in Venice marks the entrance to a long narrow courthouse by Italian studio C+S Architects (+ slideshow).

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Designed to house the Supervisory Law Courts, the project is positioned amongst the eighteenth century brick buildings of a former tobacco factory and C+S Architects designed the pitched roof profile as a nod to the archetypal forms of this complex.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Above: photograph is by Alessandra Bello

Sheets of pre-oxidised copper clad the exterior so that it is almost black in appearance and were intended as a reference to the historical copper rooftops that can be spotted around the city. "Copper is a traditional material in Venice, used for the roofs of institutional buildings," architect Maria Alessandra Segantini told Dezeen.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Above: photograph is by Alessandra Bello

At the front of the building, the upper storeys cantilever forwards to create a sheltered entrance to the seven-storey-high reception contained inside. From here, staircases and elevators lead to offices, courtrooms and council chambers upstairs.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

There are a few windows on the front and end gables, but there are only vents on the long, road-facing side elevation. "This facade has only a punctuation of windows because it houses all the vertical systems," said Segantini, explaining how the 1.5-metre-thick walls contain electrical and ventilation services for the entire building.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

C+S Architects won a competition to design the building back in 2002.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Another recent addition to the Piazzale Roma in Venice is the Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande bridge by Santiago Calatrava, which opened in 2008.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Above: photograph is by Alessandra Bello

See all our stories about architecture and interiors in Venice »

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Photography is by Pietro Savorelli apart from where otherwise stated.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Here's some more information from C+S Architects:


LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice Inhabited infrastructure

The project is a winning entry of an international competition. The building is a graft in the complexity of the Venetian urban system facing Piazzale Roma, the car-entrance space to the city of Venice.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

At the same time it becomes the 'infrastructure' which brings an existing 19th century complex factory (Ex-Manifattura Tabacchi) to a contemporary use: in fact it houses the technological systems serving the whole.

LCV. Law-Court Offices in Venice by C+S Architects

Above: photograph is by Alessandra Bello

The dimension of the building is measured on the huge void of Piazzale Roma facing the bridge of Santiago Calatrava, on the opposite side.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: basement plan

A huge, five level high space acts as a 'urban entrance' enlightened by the roof as all the ex-industrial existing buildings.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: ground floor plan

This vertical inner space, opened to free entrance during the day, will house, on the ground level, the commercial services which will allow to improve and give back the citizen a big public space, functioning also as an entrance to the sequence of public spaces which will be regained by the future restoration of the existing buildings.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: first floor plan 

The new volume has a simple, archetypical, compact shape, resulting from the manipulation of the Venetian industrial building typology and the connection to the skyline of the huge parking lots.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: second floor plan

A five meter long cantiliver on Piazzale Roma becomes the entrance: a huge shadow which attracts the fluxes of people horizontally in the new urban system and vertically along either a linear stair or elevators which distributes to all the levels.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: third floor plan

The linear stair is designed parallel to the elevation facing the parking building San Marco, letting us to design that elevation as a punctuation of small windows designing a special natural light in the inside.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: fourth floor plan

The material of the building is a preoxidated type of TECU copper. Copper in Venice is the material with which all the institutional (religious and laic) buildings' roofs are built with.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: fifth floor plan

In this project, materiality and form become a metaphor representing institution: the house of justice is a big monomateric roof which welcome the citizens inside an enlightened space.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: roof plan

We always work with materiality and light, instigating, with pro-oxidation, the idea of subtracting material from surfaces and activating them with light, which is what time does. Working with the idea of 'time' is archetypical in Venice.

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: section A-A

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: section B-B

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: section C-C

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: section D-D

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: section E-E

LCV. Law-Court Offices by C+S Architects

Above: front elevation

  • Carlos

    Dark and foreboding. A container for severe judgement? A prelude to confinement?

  • alex

    Law courts disguised as a British barn extension?

  • Gabriele

    Interior looks quite nice. However, totally dislike it from the outside. It’s just not Venice.

  • http://florence-marketing.dk Kristoffer

    Pietros’ work here is great, I must say! And obviously the buildings look amazing.

  • h28

    A brave and clever approach, as usual from C+S Architects. Great project!

  • Mark

    Elegant, essential and perfect for Venice! Interiors look amazing.

  • Guz

    It's the black obelisk of doom!

  • Fizz

    Now, if the brief was for an interrogation centre…

  • http://www.brgstudio.com nulla

    Nice project. Clean, sharp and goes straight to what is necessary.

  • http://www.vizbloc.com benjamin hale

    I’d have to disagree with Alex, Carlos and Gabriele: this practice has done a number of beautiful projects in and around Venice.

    Gabriele, you comment: “…totally dislike it from the outside. It’s just not Venice.”

    What does that even mean? Have you no idea of the architectural history of Venice, how the city has borrowed from different styles across the ages?