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Part 2 Project 2006
Matthew Tabram
London South Bank University, UK
From completion in 1882, the Royal Courts of Justice were criticised as a place of work. As financial stakes have burgeoned, so too have Queen’s Bench cases and the demands they place upon the courtroom.

In a city of spires, the new Queen’s Bench Courts reflect both the Neo-Gothic ideals of the RCJ and the contrasting styles existing in the site vicinity.

The scheme follows an approach based upon a variation of Buckminster-Fuller’s Dynamic Maximum Tension thesis, whereby the position of thermal mass in a building is optimised whilst structures in compression are replaced by ones in tension.

Matthew Tabram

This refined icon virtually recommends itself, combining all the qualities of being a memorable urban marker with a clear understanding that courts of law must define their own territory and aura. Matt has grasped that the long and short views from and to a site such as the Aldwych mesh into the surrounding city with great singularity. The top of the building floats satisfyingly, displaying rippling responsive sidings, whilst the vaulted undercroft asserts the necessary degree of awe over all those entering. The tight internal spaces capture the hermetic qualities of legal practice perfectly, but still offer quality civic space.

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