Karlsruhe has been the symbolic ‘home of lawmaking’ – a key role for the modern, democratic state of Germany – for more than 50 years. Germany’s uppermost judicial bodies are based in Karlsruhe: the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Court of Justice and the Federal Attorney General. In German news it is common to hear that a decision has been taken after a ‘Judgement in Karlsruhe’.
The Federal Constitutional Court first moved in Prinz-Max-Palais in 1951 and subsequently, in 1969, in the ‘Baumgarten building’. Built by Berlin architect Paul Baumgarten in the immediate vicinity of the palace, the complex is characterised by the horizontal planes of its five structures. The large windows are symbolic of the democratic transparency appropriate to the highest court of the Federal Republic. The plenary hall is located in the tallest building. The southernmost building, which served as a public casino and restaurant until 1995, houses further office space. The judicial clerks have been accommodated in the extension with a green facade, built by Berlin architect Michael Schrölkamp, since 2007. The Baumgarten complex was completely renovated between 2011 and 2014.