OMA and ArtefactoryLab

Following an international design competition, Netherlands-based architecture firm OMA has been commissioned by Ministry of Justice of France to design the new Palais de Justice in Lille, France. Led by OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas, Hon. FAIA, and partner Ellen van Loon, the design team was selected from four finalist teams, including a team made of local architecture firm Coldefy & Associés and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto; Paris-based Dominique Perrault Architecture; and Rotterdam, Netherlands–based architects Neutelings en Riedijk.

OMA and ArtefactoryLab

To be located on the outskirts of the city, the new courthouse will be built in close proximity of a historic fortification that since 2008 has been part of the Fortifications of Vauban UNESCO World Heritage Site—a series of fortified buildings and sites stretched along the nation's border.

OMA and ArtefactoryLab
OMA and ArtefactoryLab

OMA's design features a hexagon-shaped, colorful building inspired by Lille's location and history. "From the base of the building, which houses the public and the major courtrooms, a central triangular tower rises where all the minor courtrooms are concentrated," according to a press release. "This tower is surrounded by a ring of offices floating above the base." Inside, unlike common architecture of judicial buildings, the interior space of the new Palais de Justice will be inviting and "free of intimidation," the architects said in the same press release.

OMA
OMA and ArtefactoryLab

This is not OMA's first project in Lille. Previously, the firm drew up the master plan of the new Euralille district in 1989 and completed the Congrexpo's conference and exhibition center in 1994.

Lille's new Palais de Justice is a collaboration between OMA, local firm Saison Menu Architectes Urbanistes, Canadian consultancy WSP, French consultancy Bureau Michel Forgue, and real estate company Quadrim, and it is expected to be completed in 2023.