Paul de Ruiter

Breda Courthouse

Transparent jurisdiction

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1316 PDR Gilbert Mc Carragher
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In collaboration with Rob Hootsmans and the InBalans consortium, we acquired the task of designing, constructing and managing the courthouse for Zeeland and West Brabant for 30 years in a public-private partnership with a DBFMO contract. The 15-storey building is situated in the Station area in Breda, and is the new premises for the regional organisations of the court, the Public Prosecution Service and the Council for Child Protection.

Public buildings, Design & Build, PPS
With the design we bring the building closer to the people.

An authoritative yet accessible building

We aimed to design an engaging and contemporary courthouse – a coherent whole for three separate but identifiable organisations. We planned a structure of three stacked volumes turning slimmer with each volume as we go higher. The height symbolises the court’s authority, the layering represents the independence of the organisations and the large windows give a transparent and open feel to the building. The result is an authoritative yet accessible edifice.

An agreeable indoor climate through natural resources

Our ambition to make everyone who uses the courthouse feel comfortable and function at their best has resulted in a building with an agreeable indoor climate. With the future in mind, we wanted to limit the environmental impact of the court to a minimum. We decided the shape and orientation of the building in relation to the sun's position to facilitate the optimal utilisation of daylight and solar heat. In addition, we use weather-responsive façades at every level, and cold water from the Mark river for cooling, thus minimising the building’s energy consumption.

Led by acoustics

Every room in the courthouse asks for different acoustics. We wanted to improve the intelligibility in the courtrooms, while the spacious and open waiting areas ask for an excellent balance between the absorption, diffusion and reflection of sound. We found a solution for noise from road and rail traffic. By positioning the courtrooms in the middle of the building, the waiting rooms can function as a sound buffer.

Project details


Total floor area 33.000 m² exclusive parking area
Program Courthouse, Public Prosecution Service
Start design July 2013
Start construction February 2016
Completion May 2018


Client GGB InBalans DBMO bv
Project architect Paul de Ruiter & Rob Hootsmans
Project team Marieke Sijm, Mark Homminga, Marlous Vriethoff
Adviseur constructions ARUP
Adviseur installations HOMIJ technische installaties
Adviseur building physics ARUP
Photography René de Wit, Ossip van Duivenbode, Gilbert McGarragher

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