Why a Courthouse Has Tall Pillars?

9:56 AM



Generally, a courthouse in many countries has a special characteristic. The building usually has tall pillars.

Here are few examples

The Supreme Court in Washington
Picture source: pinterest
District Court of Western Australia
Picture source: google image
Federal Administrative Court Germany
Picture source: pinterest
Supreme Court of the Philippines
Picture source: google image
Constitutional Court Building of Indonesia
Picture source: google image


Although there are some of courthouses that adopting the locality of its culture and local value, however the pillar element never detached and often being a necessity in its design. For instance, High Court Building in Paliaman, Indonesia. The building inspired by a concept of traditional house called "Rumah Gadang". Even though the building implements the concept of locality, the architect couldn't resist the urge of applying the pillar element on its facade or in the entrance of the building.

High Court Building in Paliaman
Picture source: google image


Quoting from the prime minister's words Winston Churchill in his speech at the British House of Commons.

“We shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.”


If his words is correlated in the concept of space and paradigm, it is certainly clear why the courthouse is made royal, majestic, glorious by putting tall pillars that sustain in it.


The courthouse is an official building. A place that is upheld and given high respect. It also has high position in government. The people who are in it are respected people and believed could give justice and protection for the society.

When architects design a courthouse, they certainly wanted to give such an impression to the building, pretentious and grandeur. The impression not only shows by the individual who's inside the building, but it must be showed and reflected from the inside and the outside form of the building.

Because, as it said, the buildings shape us.

But why is it pillar?

  • Pillar is depicted as a symbol of grandeur and dignity
Many symbols or elements that are generally used to portray something in particular meaning could be showed tangible or intangible.
In terms of expressing something implicitly, there are paradigms about how grandeur and dignity are portrayed in architectural form, pillar is one of them. Pillars in architecture always identical as an image of grandeur and dignity.

  • Pillar has a meaning as a justice or perfection

Beauty and perfection are influenced by symmetry and proportion. 

Justice has a meaning not having heavy-side, equally, or said symmetry. 

Balance is pictured in symmetry. Balance in symmetry means perfection. 

Have you heard about a term "Golden Section" in architecture? In architecture, a building that shows a balanced form between vertical element (column) and horizontal element (beam) in perfect geometry is called having "Golden Section".

Plan and elevation of Maison Carrée shows symmetrical pillars
Picture source: Maison Carrée - Smarthistory

Golden section (golden ratio) is a composition rule that have been attracted philosophers and artists for hundreds of years and it has been believed and used to arrange and control a form of appealing, beautiful, and harmony in architecture.

To conclude, I strongly believe that the architect wanted to convey the incarnation of the balanced form that is shaped by the pillars in a courthouse not only for aesthetics or visual purpose, yet it's tightly linked to the philosophy of law and justice itself. 

There are justice institution and some important things occur there. Justice institution is an institution of power and a judicial authority which has high position in government. They have to act fair and impartial. Those concept are showed by the architect through applying pillars that arranged symmetry.

The architect wanted to deliver some of those particular meanings in that building.

  • Substantial influence of ancient Greek in world civilization
Ancient Greek is undoubtedly one of the most influential civilizations in human history. Its influence is very large in terms of democracy, the alphabet, philosophy, law, theater, science, architecture, and so on. We are surely familiar as we hear the name of Socrates, Plato, or Aristoteles. These three figures are very influential philosopher in Greek history. Until now their theory have always been used in various other parts of the world. 

Those big influence presumably being one of the reason why the design of the courthouse in many countries is often inspired from Ancient Greek. Probably there are also some meaningful theories related to justice philosophy in there.

Every building that is designed by an architect has a meaning, because the designer wants to convey some values in his work.






Reference:
  1. https://business-law.binus.ac.id...
  2. Maison Carrée - Smarthistory
  3. Arsitektur klasik dan modern
  4. Golden ratio - Wikipedia
Read Indonesian version here

You Might Also Like

0 komentar

Portfolio Design

Popular Posts

Instagram