Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo surround Mexican courthouse with volcanic stone wall

Following the repeal of the Mexican judicial system towards a new paradigm of orality, a conception of space that would reflect these developments was necessary for the new design of this courthouse in the large town of Pátzcauro in the Mexican state of Michoacán.

The brief called for a building void of hierarchy. The spaces had to adhere to sentiments of transparency, equality, democracy, justice and dignity forming an ‘exposed system’ enclosed within an oval, local volcanic stone wall.

Among the other materials used in the project are timber, concrete, perforated bricks, and metal. The choice of material here was inspired by the concept of building a stronger sense of belonging and duty to the local community.

The single storey structure is enclosed within the stone wall, which reaches a maximum height of 8 metres. A succession of gardens and open areas dispersed between 5 pavilions, and across 4 platforms encourage the flow of light, air, and people.

  • Project: Criminal Courts for Oral Trials in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.
  • Location: Pátzcuaro, Michoacán de Ocampo State, Mexico.
  • Project Year: 2012-2015
  • Architectural studio: Taller | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo |
  • Architects: Mauricio Rocha, Gabriela Carrillo.
  • Project team: Daniel Huerta, Giordana Rojas, Juan Carlos Montiel.
  • Construction: Construcciones Electromecánicas Industriales S.A de C.V.
  • Structural engineering: Grupo SAI-Gerson Huerta.
  • Plumbing Installations: ZUMA
  • Special Installations: Baja Net.
  • Air Conditioning Installation: Instalación y Confort.
  • Lighting: DCE (Diseño y Construcción Eléctricas).
  • Furniture design: Ricardo Casas.
  • Photography: Rafael Gamo, Sandra Pereznieto.
  • Client: Michoacán de Ocampo State Government.
  • Project Area: 1,631.70 m2