The Supreme Court is one of the most important buildings in the Philippines. It is a singular project that has many facets that make it interesting, and it is the totality of these facets that make it such a great building. So for WTA Architecture and Design Studio’s design entry, the building needed to consider much thought. It was not just a symbolic piece of architecture, but a working institution.
We have used the idea of courts as the starting point for the Supreme Court Building. The various programs are arranged around and connected with a series of courtyards that serve as the primary organizing system. These courtyards allow us to create order and spaces to accommodate shifting numbers of people as well as shorten the distances and travel time between various divisions.
The site lies within a community fragmented by walls and boundaries which dominate the landscape. We have been able to use this separation to inform our design process and allow us to give something back to the community by creating connections and catalyzing the growth of the surrounding barangay.
The social aspect of our design works beyond our site and emphasizes sightlines, pedestrian connections, preserved green spaces, and public spaces that redefine the urban relationship between the surrounding communities. It is a public-friendly space for people to interact with. The Supreme Court has to be incredible. It has to offer something inspiring and be an aspirational pinnacle for the people in the spirit of supreme courts and institutions around the world that are typified by domes and pillars as symbols, not of raw power, but enlightened authority.
Symbolic elements have been streamlined yet traditioinal forms were retained. The domes allow us to present the idea of a very Filipino gentility that embraces justice tempered with wisdom and compassion. Domes have a much smaller surface exposure than a rectilinear structure and allow for greater passive cooling and thermal insulation as well as air penetration on site. By creating a series of linked domes that defines us not as an island nation but an archipelagic nation of connected islands sharing a common history, culture, and tradition, we are giving the Supreme Court its identity.