Richard Rogers and Van Kerc Khove B.V.B.A., Ove Arup & Partners and landscape designer Wirtz International designed the new courthouse justitiepaleis for Antwerp, completed in 2006.
The soaring spires in this £86m project are pointed with a east-west orientation to catch natural sunlight. They provide an aesthetic reminiscent of sails on ships. Other environmental features include natural ventilation and water recycling. After becoming roiled in scandal, the legal system tried to make a statement of honesty and transparency from this open design. The six wings spread from a central spine like the legs on a spider. The roadway runs underground directly below this spine.
The complex includes music halls for the London Symphony Orchestra and other groups, exhibition halls, restaurants, movie theatres, and residential. The concrete ziggurat design with lavish green gardens has been called ugly. It is. But it is an evolving complex that looks better with each new layer.