Cour Suprême

The High Court, by Italian architect Eugène Palumbo in 1969, was designed to embody rational justice and local custom through a juxtaposition of simple modernist design and mosaic depictions of village life. It was part of Mobutu’s ‘recours à l’authenticité’, a use of local culture to decolonise the country (part of which included its name change to Zaire).[i] ‘[A]n up-to-date institution, the mosaic suggests that in this modern house judgments are passed that remain firmly rooted in a genuine, long- standing African tradition whereby the chief ’s wisdom plays a primary role, a form of justice allegedly lost during colonial rule’.[ii]

[i] Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja The Congo: from Leopold to Kabila, a people’s history (London: Zed Books, 2002) [ii] Johan Lagae & Kim De Raedt (2014) Building for “l'Authenticité”: Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo, Journal of Architectural Education, 68:2, 178-189: 184