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A “palace of justice” would be a more fitting description for the magnificent building from the Wilhelminian era, built between 1901 and 1905 on the eastern perimeter of the historic city center. Consisting of four wings and a central staircase with a high, arched cupola hall, the building employs the architectonic vocabulary of the late gothic and early renaissance period and is as representational (and repressive?) as its famous counterpart in Berlin, built at the same time. Remarkably, the building still fulfills its function perfectly, with separate spaces for judges’ offices, courtrooms, and administration that adequately meet modern-day requirements. Indeed, the heights of the rooms and the size of the circulation areas exceed current standards and are regarded as being especially spacious and well proportioned.
Its majestic character is rounded off by pictorial representations, floral decor, city arms, allegories, and portraits of past judges, animals, and mythical creatures, as well as the opulent use of color inside and out.
The renovation works planned by the architects were therefore not about adapting the building to new uses but primarily about restoring the building to its former glory.
The external render was renewed and the color scheme reconstructed. In the interior, the opulent staircase with its elaborate rib-vaulted dome and the surrounding hallways and courtrooms were restored to their original historical condition and glorious color scheme. The timber paneling and lead glazing were restored, and all the different portal frames, door leaves with painted fabric panels, painted ironwork, and door ironmongery were reinstated to their original condition with the help of restorers.
With great care and regard for the historical decorations and imagery, the architects introduced glazed fire doors, sanitary facilities, and interior fittings and furnishings, as well as lighting elements, along with communication and security technology in order to ensure that Justitia’s fairytale castle continues to serve its function in the future.