01 October 2020
We are delighted to announce that a sketch of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by Ivan Harbour will feature on a French national stamp. Launched last month by La Poste, the stamp based on the concept sketch by project partner Ivan Harbour celebrates the 25th anniversary of the building.
Ivan Harbour said “It is remarkable that the ECHR building is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. It seems only yesterday that, in 1989, Amo Kalsi and I put together, over a 2 week period, a very conceptual idea for the court. To see it honoured now by a national stamp is tremendous for the organisation and the unique building that has come to represent it. Durable and adaptable, the building is universally loved and cared for by its occupants. I wish it well for its next 25 years and beyond.”
Remembering the concept design, Ivan said, ‘Its inspiration came from our experience on the Lloyd’s building and admiration for Laurie Abbott’s futuristic bridge over the Thames; the centrepiece of Richard’s ‘London as it could be’ exhibition, alongside Foster and Stirling at the RA in 1987.’
The two main departments of the European Court, the Court itself and the Commission, occupy two circular chambers at the head of the building which are clad in stainless steel with secondary structural elements picked out in bright red. The entrance hall is filled with natural light and offers visitors views across the river and the ‘tail’ of the building is divided into two parts containing offices, administration and the judges’ chambers.
25 years ago, the building was an early foray into a more sustainable large-scale architecture, with its natural ventilation, solar shading, opening windows, thermal mass, ground water heat pumps and extensive greening.
The ECHR is today readily recognised round the world by its logo, which echoes the outline of the building. It accommodates 47 judges and about 650 Registry staff to ensure respect for the human rights of 820 million Europeans in the 47 member States of the Council of Europe that have ratified the Convention.