Post by kerouac2 on Nov 9, 2019 6:46:45 GMT
Adapting Paris to the 21st century is not the easiest thing in the world, especially the historic heart of Ile de la Cité, so moving the courthouse and the police headquarters, both of which had become far too small over the years, was a raging source of controversy for a decade. Taking people out of a historic building in the most prestigious area in the city does not happen without major protests. The judges didn't want to go, the lawyers sidn't want to go, the police didn't want to go... Nobody asked the little administrative employees, but they certainly did not want to go either.
The national government wanted to move everybody to the "Tolbiac site" not too far away, just across from the giant Mitterrand library site. This meant building everything over the train tracks leaving the Gare d'Austerlitz. However, the city of Paris violently opposed this choice and promoted the "Masséna site" instead. This was basically over the same Austerlitz train tracks but quite a bit farther out on the southern edge of the city. This was considered to be a fate worse than death for the judicial community. It was the middle of nowhere. In fact, it still is.
The Ile de France regional authorites threw their weight into the battle and decided that Tolbiac was better. 275 architectural projects were filed in 2007, but the city of Paris dug in its heels and was able to block the projects since it had control over a major portion of the necessary real estate. The project stagnated while still devouring tax money, I'm quite sure.
In 2009, President Sarkozy pulled the rug out from everybody. Paris had lost the 2012 Olympics to London, and there was a huge parcel of land that had been set aside for the games on the northern edge of the city. Something needed to be done with this embarrassing piece of real estate. A contract was signed in February 2012 with an architectural project by Renzo Piano.
However, in May 2012, much to his dismay, Sarkozy was not reelected. The new governement threated to cancel the project, because that is the sort of thing that new governments like to do, but it was finally confirmed in January 2013. Meanwhile the bar association in association with the judges' association had filed a motion to cancel the project because, hey, they were happy on Ile de la Cité and sensed a weak point in the government's determination. Work on the construction was temporarily suspended, but this was another case where so much money had been spent already that there was absolutely no way to justify dumping the whole project and starting over again.
And so in August 2017 the building was mostly complete. Just about every court in Paris was moved into it -- the 20 local courts in each mairie, the courts in the Tribunal of Commerce and other non criminal jurisdictions, and the vast majority of the courts in the Palais de Justice, which retains only the court of appeals and the supreme court. There are 90 courtrooms in the new building, which is 38 floors tall.
There are 500 trees growing on the building. These are all for the pleasure of the 700 judges who occupy all of the upper floors. Neither the lawyers nor the public have access.