District court

Hinwil, CH
Canton Zurich
4'670 m²
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New district court Hinwil

open competition

Landscape: Studio Ha-Ha
Civil engineer: INGENI Zürich

The district court is at the northern end of Hinwil, surrounded by widespread residential development. In this heterogeneous urban context, the new building takes a prominent position. It is situated on a hill, from which it overlooks the village from its privileged position. The clear positioning perpendicular to the slope accentuates the arrival on foot, from the street the new staircase leads directly to the access square of the court, marking its representative character.

The positioning of the volumes allows a clear separation of public and non-public outdoor areas. Access for staff is either directly through the underground car park or through a separate entrance on the south-east façade.

On the north-west side of the lot is the external public area with the car park, the court square and the main entrance. On the south-east side of the building, next to the staff entrance, there is a private outdoor area with benches and green areas for staff.

The building is divided into two clearly separated sectors: the public area with access to the semi-public area and the interior area. These two sectors are also recognizable in the volume and each has independent access. In the compact buffer zones are organized all service functions. 

Both volumes are organized around a central access and meeting area. Visitors entering from the main entrance to the west can register at the reception desk and wait to be admitted. The most frequented spaces are located on the ground floor, in the immediate vicinity of the entrance.

In the semi-public area, the waiting area is organized around the full-height inner courtyard. This allows the creation of several separate seating groups, all of which benefit from diffuse natural lighting and views to the outside. In the staff area, the internal gallery extends along the building, again benefiting from the zenithal light.

The façade consists of thick raw earth columns and thin horizontal concrete elements. The columns determine the character of the façade through rhythm, weight, light and shadow. This almost abstract expressiveness gives the building a certain monumentality and a strong public character. The external mineral filter of raw earth columns and the precast elements of recycled concrete support the silhouette of the building with their simplicity, while the thin metal profiles of the windows give rhythm to the glazed parts.

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