Castellum – Jönköping District Court

Yellon designed the new courthouse at Västra Kajen in Jönköping, strategically located in the changing cityscape where the shore of Lake Munksjön is the city's new hotspot.

The courthouse is part of a comprehensive reorganization within Sveriges Domstolar (the courts of Sweden) to create more modern, secure and accessible courts. As a democratic society cornerstone, the new courthouse, like its predecessor, plays a central role in the city and explicitly has to express dignity and independence.

The direct proximity to the police station and detention center provides efficient and secure flows, forming a judicial center with the adjacent prosecutor offices. The polarity of the legal system, with judiciary activity traditionally symbolized by a scale, serves as the conceptual common thread with a play of contrasts achieving many expressions.

The double storey waiting room, inspired by the Asplund town hall extension in Gothenburg, faces Lake Munksjön on the upper floor. The staircase, clearly announced in the facade, conveys openness and accessibility. The warm, wood-clad interior with soft shapes contrasts to the hard, colder exterior. The round staircase adds a sculptural effect to the room. From a distance, walls look veneered. Up close, six pieces of legal text are revealed, printed in different colors on MDF boards. Complex logistics guarantee the highest possible legal security and personal protection, preventing parties from meeting outside the courtroom. As part of the court’s new working methods, testimonies can be recorded and used in higher courts, making courtrooms advanced technology-intensive recording studios.

A metal facade with lightly folded cassettes made of aluminum composite panels creates a constantly changing shadow play, reminiscent of abstract waves shifting in a graphic gray scale that captures surrounding colors. Like lightly pleated drapes, it opens momentarily as floor-high slits facing the courtrooms.