Page 1

Structuring Justice

— The Third Justice Environments Conference Court Architecture Exhibition — 20–22 May 2010

Structuring Justice

— The Third Justice Environments Conference Court Architecture Exhibition — 20–22 May 2010

Acknowledgements The curator would like to thank the following generous organisations and individuals for their valuable support and assistance in bringing together this exhibition, in particular, the conference hosts — the University of Western Sydney, the Court of the Future Network, and the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration — and the conference sponsors — ClearOne, KLM Group, Potter Farelly Consulting and Evidence Technology. None of this would be possible, of course, without the participation of the contributing architecture firms, who generously supplied us with images and catalogue text. Thanks must also go to all the courts that consented to participating, and to Chief Justice of the Family Court, Diana Bryant, for opening the exhibition. The curator would also like to extend her thanks to Professor David Tait, Diane Jones and Meredith Rossner for their valued insights and to Judy Crabb for her tireless administrative support. Also to Brad Haylock for his design expertise and his patience in designing this catalogue, and to Kelley Glaister for all her installation support. And, finally, to the conference team at Rydges.

Cover image: Parramatta Trial Courts Building (detail) Inside cover image: Supreme Court of New Zealand (plan)

Contents Acknowledgements / 2 Curatorial Foreword / 4 — COURTS Brisbane Magistrates’ Court / 10 Collingwood Neighbourhood Justice Centre / 14 European Court of Justice / 18 Ipswich Justice Precinct / 22 Kalgoorlie Courts Project / 26 Moorabbin Justice Centre / 30 Parramatta Trial Courts Building / 34 Pine Rivers Courthouse / 38 Queens Square Law Courts / 42 Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts / 46 Supreme Court of New Zealand / 52 Supreme Court of Victoria / 58


Curatorial Foreword 6

Structuring Justice, the Third Justice Environments Conference Court Architecture Exhibition, presents an array of new and recent court projects that highlight and articulate a number of broad questions and themes relevant to contemporary court architecture and design. The diversity of projects within the exhibition demonstrates the level of complexity necessary in architectural solutions sympathetic to the variegated and shifting topology of the justice system. The courts featured show innovative responses to recent shifts in the cultural, social and pragmatic expectations of justice environments. They explore questions of heritage and adaptation, and of the continuing civic and symbolic role of courts. They show how courts, as spaces, might manage complex social and cultural encounters and how courts can approach the questions of sustainability and future-proofing in design. All the designs meet the challenges of the court processes and the increasing demand for the co-provision of justice services in one space. In many cases, future developments in justice services are anticipated by the architects and design teams. Civic and Symbolic Spaces

Courts as civic buildings are vested with the important symbolic function of displaying a social commitment to justice. We expect them to convey ideas of authority and order through architectural form, but we no longer carry the expectation that courts are simply punitive institutions. Within a traditional continuum of courts as places of justice delivery, there is also a nascent acknowledgement of courts as sites of respect that are transparent, inclusive and accessible. The Brisbane Magistrates’ Court, designed by ABM Cox

Rayner Architects, rejects monumentality, favouring instead community access and participation through a maximisation of the literal transparency of the building. The Pine Rivers Court, designed by Guymer Bailey, also embraces this shift, through an extensive use of natural light, they aim to promote perceptual and psychological feelings of openness, transparency and safety. Of course, the civic nature of courts means they also provide a focus for the community. The Ipswich Justice Precinct architects, ABM Cox Rayner, collaborated with contemporary artists to develop works that were ‘built in’ to the fabric of the building, in order to integrate justice into community life. The large public works, by Bruce Reynolds, Gwyn Hanssen Piggott and Laurie Nilsen, are aimed at reducing stress and enriching the court visitors’ experience by reflecting the cultural character of the local community. The refocusing of courthouses as the civic centre of a community is evident in the strong public amenity of the Parramatta Trial Courts, designed by Lyons Architecture. Here, the heritage of the site provided a blueprint for the public focused design which includes a central meeting place, visual connections to the neighbouring buildings and paths to the river that strenghten its link to the rest of the city. Dominique Perrault’s extensive adaptation of the European Court of Justice is strongly attentive to the symbolic and iconic potency of its site. Given the task of creating a landmark feature capable of reflecting the collective identity of the European Union member states, Perrault articulated the relationship between the Union’s function and its public and political importance by creating a golden steel mesh facade that is simultaneously translucent and structurally strong.



The New Zealand Supreme court, designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, uses extensive ornamentation to create an architectural form analogous to the Pohutukawa and Rata trees, which in the Maori tradition symbolise leadership and shelter. This symbolic approach to ornamentation is carried throughout the interior, where shaped beech panels, akin to those of the Kauri cone, line the courtroom space. The architects see this space as a ‘seed of new tradition’, which mediates between the tradition of the site and a new harmonious cultural tradition. Diverse cultural and social expectations

Considerable attention has been paid in the recent past to the cultural needs of indigenous court ­users. The Kalgoorlie Courthouse architects engaged indigenous communities in order to determine how architecture might enable justice delivery to better accommodate indigenous culture. An understanding of cultural factors such as connection to the land and the importance of kinship law are here architecturally manifest in outdoor spaces that are designed to be comfortable for traditionally oriented Indigenous persons, an attentiveness to distance and separation in waiting areas, and space for multiple interpreters in the witness dock. Future-proofing courts through technology and adaptation

The realm of court architecture includes not only the building of new courts, but also the renovation or adaptation of existing courthouses. The successful adaptation of a courthouse demands an anticipation of future needs as well as an engagement with the historic and civic relevance of its site. Billard Leece’s adaptation of the Supreme Court of Victoria retains

the layout and significant fabric of the original design, while improving the court’s technical performance through the discreet provision of improved acoustics, lighting, cooling and ventilation. The Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts, by HASSELL, are designed to meet the challenges of fully integrating courtroom technology capable of supporting current courtroom practices, while retaining sufficient adaptability to cope with potential future changes. Another adaptation project, the Queen Square Law Courts by GroupGSA and HASSELL, sought to distinguish the new court facilitates from the 1970s ‘institutional’ emphasis on outmoded judicial values. To this end, the architects opened the external walls of the courtroom to create views to the outside, providing flexibility for the future operations of the court and to reflect a new emphasis on transparency. Addressing restorative and therapeutic justice

The Collingwood Neighbourhood Justice Centre, designed by Lyons Architects, suggests ways in which the court can itself be a vehicle for social change. The re-purposed warehouse draws on the principles of restorative justice to create a community-scale space where the offender can not only have her case heard by the magistrate, but where she can also have the symptoms of offending addressed by the numerous co-housed welfare and support services. Sustainable practice

Sustainability in design is an increasingly important concern in architectural discourse. The Moorabbin Justice Centre, designed by FMSA Architects, approached sustainability by exploring alternative environmental systems to ensure a ‘green’ building.



One of the building’s most outstanding features is the external veil of sun-controlling louvres, which shade the building but which also allow a considerable amount of sunlight in. Active mass and night sky cooling, in conjunction with other green features, means the space can operate without air-conditioning. It is hoped that this exhibition contributes to ongoing debates around the expectations and possibilities of ‘courts of the future’.  — Imogen Beynon





Architect ABM Cox Rayner Structural Robert Bird Group Services Norman Disney Young Façade ARUP Acoustics Ron Rumble Cost Rider Hunt Hydraulics Steve Paul + Partners

Brisbane Magistrates’ Court ABM Cox Rayner Completed in 2004, the Brisbane Magistrates’ court was designed to simultaneously ‘de-institutionalise’ the justice system while retaining its dignity. To that extent, it defies the tradition of the monumental courts edifice and looks to a future of community accessibility and participation. This purpose is achieved in several ways — by clear articulation of building functions, by maximising transparency to and from within, and by continuity of artwork meaningful to the community and its different cultures which identifies justice as an intrinsic part of civic life. An unusual aspect of the design process was the architect’s ability to define the site configuration. This flexibility allowed the creation of a triangular plan that opened up the heart of the building for the public, and facilitated views out at each end to the river and to Brisbane’s then new Roma Street Parkland. The 25 civil and criminal courtrooms form the flanks of the triangle with judiciary circulation around the outer edges, the courtrooms being ‘paired’ for direct (separated) judge and detainee access. This pairing also enabled all courtrooms to have either external outlook or natural light. The central public space is configured to facilitate visibility of each courtroom entrance from the lift lobby for legibility, and the widest part of the space comprises a series of two storey atriums which provide vertical visual connections. The Brisbane Magistrates’ court was futureproofed by including ‘shell floors’ for later fitout and a system of services conduits that provide for future technologies installations. From a security perspective, it provides alternative entry and exit points for magistrates and prisoners, from which the circulation systems to destinations are, while around the perimeter, screened by translucent glazing.

Another key aspect of the public expression of the building is that created by artists, not so much working as ‘public artists’ but as collaborators on the design of certain spaces. As a result, it is artwork that denotes the travel paths and intersections from the forecourt of the building through the lower public and registry levels to the courtroom levels. These artworks variously interpret either aspects of justice or the history of the site such as its position over Brisbane’s ‘tank stream’. From an urban design perspective, the building is shaped so that it provides a public movement route up from George Street into Roma Street Parklands via a bridge which is about to be constructed. However, the plan also envisaged in 1999, when it was conceived, a more significant link from the justice precinct across the Brisbane River to the Queensland Cultural Precinct. This bridge, completed in 2009, is the Kurilpa Bridge and was also designed by Cox Rayner Architects. 


Brisbane Magistrates’ Court ABM Cox Rayner





Architect Lyons Structural engineer Bonacci Group Builder JA Dodd Services engineer Murchie Consultants Landscape consultant RushWright Associates Building surveyor PLP Building Surveyors & Consultants Quantity surveyor Turner & Townsend

Collingwood Neighbourhood Justice Centre Lyons The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) is the first community justice centre in Australia. It is located at the former Northern Metropolitan TAFE site in Collingwood and became operational on 20 February 2007. The NJC focuses on addressing local crime and safety issues and improving access to justice for people who live in the City of Yarra. As a community justice centre, the NJC incorporates a multi-jurisdictional court and offers access to a range of services delivered to assist victims, defendants, civil litigants and the local community. These services include drug and alcohol, mental health, housing, employment, mediation and financial counselling. The NJC focuses on both civil and criminal legal issues in an effort to reduce re-offending and crime rates, to enhance community perceptions of safety and confidence in the justice system and to assist in the re-invigoration of communities affected by individual and systemic disadvantage. The existing building in Wellington St, Collingwood was selected based upon early feasibility studies for this new facility. It recognised the need for a building which was identifiable in the local community and was appropriate for reuse as a flexible work environment. The design solution and business model was developed in a series of workshops with all the key stakeholders participating. As a pilot project many of the established principles of court design were critically reviewed and new concepts emerged. The principles underlying the design include: — The courtroom has been located on the mid level of the building. It was the design intention to have the court located within a community building rather than the branding of the NJC as the ‘Collingwood Court’. It is primarily a community

building, but one which incorporates a courtroom for dealing with local justice issues. The complex, secure and separate circulation pathways enshrined in the Melbourne court facilities was re-examined. It resulted in an open and accessible building where the Magistrate and staff share the same circulation as visitors to the centre. For the centre to achieve its objectives it needs to be understood as part of the community and not separate from it. The community building develops a concept of the transparency of justice. The processes of the court and the various business units are made accessible to the community. To allow visitors to the centre to self-navigate in the building over the three levels and to access the various services. To develop a design solution which builds on an existing Collingwood landmark and reinvigorate it back into community life. To provide high levels of interconnectivity between the floors which was achieved through the introduction of an ‘external’ staircase that interconnects the public spaces. Development of the public spaces to cater to the diversity of user needs — from isolated safe environments to open and engaging community spaces. 


Collingwood Neighbourhood Justice Centre Lyons





Architect DominIque Perrault client Court of Justice of the european communities, administration of public buildings

associated architects Bureau CJ4 (Dominique Perrault / Paczowski & Fritsch / m3 architectes), Luxembourg

engineers coordination Geprolux SA, Luxembourg architectural engineering Perrault Projets, Paris façades Rache-Willms, Aaren acoustic & Light Jean-Paul Lamoureux, Paris civil engineering Gehl, Jacoby & Associés, Luxembourg; Schroeder & associés, Luxembourg; TR-Engineering, Luxembourg electric engineering Felgen & Associés, Luxembourg; Bevilacqua & Associés, Luxembourg heat engineering Jean Schmit Engineering, Luxembourg sanitary engineering RMC-consulting, Luxembourg security Cabinet Casso et cie, Paris control society Secolux, Luxembourg

European Court of Justice Dominique Perrault When designing the Palais inaugurated on 9 January 1973, the architects tried to remain faithful to traditional European court architecture by giving the building an independence, an identity and a degree of visibility in relation to its immediate surroundings. The metal skeleton of the building and the other parts of the exterior were constructed of Corox steel. The other, more traditional, materials used in and around the building were chosen for their compatibility and harmony with the main metallic structure as well as for their functional value. The landscaping of the surrounding area has two essential aspects: the plaza and the park. The raised plaza serves as a base for the building and anchors it to the ground; the design of the plaza echoes the contour of the whole structure. The overriding concern in the landscaping of the site was to integrate the building into its surroundings and so to counterbalance its severe architecture. With extensive planting of indigenous trees and shrubs, the building fits naturally into its surroundings. Once this building was opened, all the staff of the Court could be accommodated under one roof. This situation, however, lasted for only a short time as, in 1985, the administrative and translation services of the Court had to be relocated. The need for additional premises as a result of successive accessions of States to the Community led first of all to the amenity areas within the buildings gradually being taken over for use as offices. Ultimately it was impossible to avoid giving up part of the landscaped area surrounding the Palais and building three extensions, designed by the Luxembourg architects Fritsch, Herr and Huyberecht and the Italian architect Paczowski: first the Erasmus building (1988)

to accommodate the Court of First Instance which had just been established, then the Thomas More building (1993), and finally the C building (1994). The attachment to the Palais and the desire to preserve its aesthetics and its symbolic function resulted in a severe restriction being imposed on the architects for the construction of these annexes: not to build above the level of the Palais square. At the end of the 1990s, when the Court began to plan a new construction project, the Luxembourg authorities asked the architect Dominique Perrault to draw up a plan taking into account not only the needs of the Court but also the spirit in which the Court wanted the project to be carried out. For the Court, the project was not about simply constructing a new extension but about reviewing the entire complex of Court buildings so as to design a new Palais, taking into account the need: — to be able to adapt to cope with an increase in the number of Member States, and consequently Judges, Advocates General and staff, and even the addition of new courts, without disrupting the overall scheme of the architecture; — to separate clearly, in particular for the purpose of making optimum security arrangements, the public areas essential to any judicial proceedings and the ‘private’ areas consisting of the Members’ chambers and the offices of the services of the Court; — to give the new building the same iconic value as the Palais inaugurated in 1973. The architectural design submitted by Dominique Perrault perfectly fulfilled these requirements. It is already accepted that there will be a third tower. 





Architect ABM Cox Rayner Structural Robert Bird + Partners Services WSP Lincolne Scott Hydraulic Steve Paul + Partners Cost Rider Levett Bucknall Landscape Tract Consultants Acoustic Ron Rumble Renzo Tonin Disability Eric Martin + Associates Signage + Wayfinding Dot Dash Façade Arup

Ipswich Justice Precinct ABM Cox Rayner From an urban design perspective, Ipswich Justice Precinct is just that — a precinct rather than a single building. The Precinct comprises a new District and Magistrates’ Courts building and adjoining Police Station. The five-level courts building comprises a lower level Watchhouse, a public ground level, one level of Magistrates’ Courts and an Indigenous People’s Courtroom, one level of District Courts, and a top level of Judge’s Chambers. Flexibility exists to cater for changes in need for District Magistrates’ Court sessions. The architectural design is a response to the building’s siting at the end of Ipswich’s main civic street axis (South Street). Historically, this condition would have resulted in a design that presented symmetrical, imposing face to the axis. However, our aim, to convey a more approachable courts building, led to an L-shaped plan where landscaped public courtyard forms the end of the axis. Despite comprising both District and Magistrates’ Courts, the design overcomes the complexities of securing judge, magistrate, jury and prisoner circulation by ‘pairing’ courts around a series of lift cores, with the public movement contained to an inner pathway that wraps around the courtyard. Our aim was to portray justice as integral to community life. This was made possible by collocating Courts and the Police Station around a courtyard and café, and enhanced by artwork carved into and expressed onto the ground plane, walls and ceilings of the Courts building. Through the public circulation spaces, a series of artworks extends from the street interface through to the farthest courtroom. The artists were collaborators rather than ‘additives’, and represent a variety of cultural backgrounds relevant to

the region. As such, their works are not independent of the building fabric, and act in different ways to enrich experience, reduce stress and interpret the environment of the building. They include a sequence of etched patterns in the concrete base by Brisbane artist Bruce Reynolds, a large porcelain work by nationally-renowned Gwyn Hanssen Piggott (also an Ipswich resident), and an external frame around the Indigenous Courtroom by Aboriginal artist Laurie Nilsen. Smaller works include elements which provide privacy screens between waiting spaces (Lincoln Austin and Kenji Uranishi), a light structure by designer Alexander Loterzstain, and a sequence of ‘found object’ reliefs by Madonna Staunton using old car reflector lights. Architecturally and materially, the Ipswich Justice Precinct is designed to reflect the character of its regional city, for example by its external spire embodying this common characteristic of Ipswich’s historic public buildings. Internally, the public spaces, courtrooms and chambers are all designed to optimise daylight access and outlook, even the Watchhouse gaining daylight penetration from skylights. 




Kalgoorlie Courts Project HASSELL Cultural Sustainability: developing, renewing and maintaining human cultures that create positive, enduring relationships with other peoples and the natural world...


A culture-based approach

Architect Hassell in collaboration with Professor Graham Brawn, Lin Kilpatrick Architect and Kevin Palassis Architects project principal Caroline Diesner project architect Philip Kirke design architects Caroline Diesner, Philip Kirke, Martin Dutry, Graham Brawn project team Davina Allen, Andrew Koniuszko, Dirk Collins, Colin Dibb, Caesar D’Adamo, Lyle Henri, Anna Fairbank — Service, structural, civil and fire engineer Aurecon Quantity surveyor Davis Langdon Landscape architect Plan E Acoustics Gabriels Environmental Design Hydraulics Hutchinson Associates BCA consultant John Massey Group Security SKM Client WA Dept of the Attorney General and WA Dept of Treasury and Finance (Building Management and Works)

Court proceedings by nature establish a heavily laden social agenda, one that initially appears at odds with the traditions and ideals of Australia’s indigenous culture. How these two can be reconciled to establish cultural sustainability for both aboriginal and non aboriginal court users formed the basis of the Kalgoorlie Courts building design brief. HASSELL was engaged to undertake consultation leading to the design of a major contemporary courts complex in the remote regional town of Kalgoorlie, in the heart of Western Australia’s productive goldfields. The location of the courts as part of a civic hub for Western Australia’s most remote indigenous communities make the recognition and understanding of traditional values paramount in the success of the Courts complex. The complex includes three magistrates’ courts, two jury courts and a range of mediation, registry and other support facilities. The site is the heritage-protected historic limestone Warden’s Court and Post Office building in the heart of Kalgoorlie’s heritage precinct. The project presented a range of challenges with major design issues centred on: — the physical and cultural constraints of fitting the highly complex programmatic and technological requirements of a contemporary courthouse into a nineteenth-century building; — the constrained nature of the urban site; and — cultural sensitivity to the diverse needs of Kalgoorlie’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous

populations and court users, who are often from strongly traditionally oriented communities and outstations. Consultation with user groups and identification of both shared and specific ideals were the key criteria in determining place making and experiential qualities that directed the program for the Kalgoorlie Courts project. Many of the stakeholders shared a strong desire for the project to make real, positive advances in translating genuine cultural expressions and needs into the design of the courthouse. As a design firm, this line of reasoning brings two key questions. Firstly, is culture relevant to justice delivery? Secondly, can architecture help? Inside-out architecture

Sensitivity and a spirit of collaboration were our aims for the Kalgoorlie Courthouse from the outset. At its heart, the design has inverted usual architectural thinking by making the outdoor spaces the central organising principle of the whole project. In making these outdoor spaces work appropriately and comfortably for traditionally oriented Aboriginal people (as well as for the non-Aboriginal Kalgoorlie population), the built elements have then responded and been arranged to allow the open spaces to participate in the functionality of the judicial process. The scheme is organised around a central linear landscaped courtyard spine. On one side is the historic Hannan Street building and on the other side the proposed new single-storey building. The courtyard elevation of the new building will be fully glazed, with large folding wall panels. These will enable both the public domain and the courtrooms themselves to


Kalgoorlie Courts Project HASSELL


dissolve into landscaped outdoor areas. The higher courts — the more traditional and ceremonial jury courts — are located in the old building, taking advantage of its existing grand internal spaces and civic architecture. The new building will house the busier and more accessible magistrates’ courts. All three magistrates’ courts are at ground level, directly accessible from the secure landscaped central courtyard. This allows the large number of people and their supporting families to wait immediately outside their scheduled courtroom, either in the enclosed public waiting area or in the fresh air (the general preference). The direct proximity of an outdoor waiting area to each court means that people scheduled to appear may be easily found and called upon when their turn comes up. It is also intended to avoid the need for names to be called over public address systems, as the direct use of individuals’ names is still widely avoided in traditional Aboriginal culture (except where specific close kinship ties permit such intimacy). Each magistrate’s court also has its own private courtyard exclusively associated with that courtroom, allowing proceedings to take place with direct access to fresh air, light and visual connection to native bush gardens. This is achieved without compromising the privacy and integrity of the hearings. Extensive consultation with the local Aboriginal reference group continued throughout schematic design and design development — canvassing, testing and retesting a range of design solutions to cultural questions and paradoxes. If we listen to what we are being told in such consultations, we start to find the answers to the challenge of developing a compassionate architectural response. 




architect fmsa Building Services Umow Lai & Associates Pty Ltd ESD Consultant Umow Lai & Associates Pty Ltd Structural & Civil Engineering O’Neill Group Landscape Hamilton Landscape Architects

Moorabbin Justice Centre FMSA The Moorabbin Justice Centre sets out to provide a multi-purpose justice facility that gives tangible and transparent access to justice, sending a message that it is relevant and available to all. The building investigates and delivers methods of defusing traditional formality, fear and stress associated with the delivery of justice. This is achieved firstly through the layering of spaces from forecourt to entry, to enclosed public spaces and courtroom. Access to courtrooms is visible from the street and approaches to the building. Additionally, the subtle use of materials, colour and light contribute to a relaxed internal environment for what can be a stressful experience for many, including staff. Sight lines from the Nepean Highway, within the court’s public spaces and courtrooms, are also subtly manipulated to promote the extended idea of relevant and accessible justice delivery. The building design adopts and extends a sustainable approach, initiated by the clients environmental management systems, with the result being the Justice Department’s most ‘green’ building. One of the prominent design features is the veil of sun-controlling louvres, like oversized Venetian blinds, that appear to float beneath the extensive eaves. The louvres allow a high degree of sun shading yet reflect daylight onto the lobby space ceiling while simultaneously reducing glare. Set clear of the façade, the louvres become colonnades around entries creating intimate external undercover meeting spaces. ESD features include: — night sky cooling; — thermal water storage; — active mass cooling;

— operable windows for cross ventilation and potentially night flushing; — passive heating; — sun-controlling louvres and blinds; — underfloor air distribution; — CO2 monitoring; — individual court and chamber mechanical shutdown; — rainwater harvesting; — ceiling fans; — efficient lighting systems; — internal courtyards; — north-facing public spaces. The design explores alternative environmental systems for a high performance building, delivering a building with public spaces, which operate without air-conditioning. The site is annexed from a formerly highly contaminated gas and fuel site set on the Nepean Highway amongst the mixed commercial and ­residential uses. Siting, view lines and floor levels were orchestrated to extract a presence for this building within its highway context. The horizontality of the building is designed to be recognised from six lanes of high speed traffic passing by. The built form provides a new paradigm for future development on recently cleared adjoining sites. The centre includes Magistrates’ Court, a Children’s Court, multipurpose courtrooms for Koori Court and VCAT hearings. The community correctional services, sheriff ’s office, police prosecutions and custody centre are on the lower ground floor, utilizing the natural slope of the site.


Moorabbin Justice Centre FMSA


The facility is a service hub for the delivery of justice services over a range of jurisdictions under one roof translating to enhanced rationalised service to the community and reinforcing the perception of ‘One Justice’. 




Architect Lyons Structural consultant Van Der Meer Services engineer Lincolne Scott & Associates Landscape consultant EDAW Building surveyor City Plan Services Contractor Multiplex Construction Planner Urbis JHD Fire engineering Defire DDA consultant Morris Goding Accessibility Consulting Traffic engineer Colston Budd Hunt & Kafes Acoustic consultant Acoustic Logic Facade consultant Hyder ESD Advanced Environmental Systems

Parramatta Trial Courts Building Lyons The design philosophy for the new Trial Courts Building is based on a holistic approach to the integration of functional Court planning, exceptional public amenity, and leading environmental design for a major new public building. A contemporary identity for the building is achieved through a distinctive external envelope, which literally frames and makes transparent the functions of the Court. This framing idea also expresses the concept of a unified and singular organisation within the new building. The design strategy in response to these objectives begins with a simple environmental diagram. This concept proposes predominantly solid walls to the east west orientation and transparent walls to the north and south. The environmental effect of this strategy is to minimise the negative effects of early morning and late afternoon heat loads and glare, whilst maximising the positive benefits of sun ingress, natural light and aspect. The architectural effect is a high level of transparency to the north and south walls, thereby activating both views into and out from the Trial Courts Building. In particular, the transparent south façade facing the entry forecourt will create a dignified and accessible entry experience through its sense of visual accessibility and transparency. The key elements of the Trial Courts that would most benefit from light and aspect, have been located adjacent to the north and south glazing. These areas include the Courts, public waiting areas and jury rooms. Windows through the east and west solid walls provide further light and views to the jury areas and public spaces.

The plan concept of solid ‘sides’ and transparent ‘ends’ is extended into the three dimensional form of the building. The environmental skin ‘wraps’ around the building form, which further accentuates the primary transparency of the north and south facades. In addition to meeting the environmental objectives for the design, this transparency also expresses the openness of the court system. This concept is made more expressive by articulating other key parts of the program including the Judges levels and the double height entry foyer. At this point the wrapping skin creates a major canopy over the front entry, thereby heightening the sense of accessibility and wayfinding. The double height transparent glass walls to the main entry space lead visitors directly into the primary orientation space and to the primary security point. This leads to a further sequence of interior public spaces which extend the design philosophy of light and openness. At each of the main court levels, the public foyers and waiting areas have extensive natural light and views, together with a natural ventilation system. The external cladding provides the primary framing of the entry. It also expresses the various functions of the court system as a unified and singular organisation — one that provides an appropriate model for courts of the twenty-first century. 


Parramatta Trial Courts Building Lyons





Architect Guymer Bailey Architects Client Department of Justice and Queensland Police Construction Evans Harch Project Management Project Services Landscape Guymer Bailey Architects Electrical / Mechanical / Vertical Transport Lincolne Scott Hydraulic H Design Security Project Services Access Consultant John Deshon Photography Aperture Architectural Photography

Pine Rivers Courthouse Guymer Bailey Architects Guymer Bailey Architects have created a calm and open environment that has been pulled back from the hustling streetscape. By using a simple palette of materials and colours set amongst a subtropical landscaped site, this public building dramatically contrasts the surrounding commercial fabric. The Courthouse consists of two naturally lit Magistrates’ Courts, Magistrates’ Chambers, supporting offices areas, mediation facilities, registry counters and an open foyer space spilling out onto the external main entry podium. The highly secure Watch house facility consists of holding cells, search rooms, secure officer and amenity areas. Every effort has been made to bring the outside in without compromising security, improving the working environment for the staff using the facility on a daily basis. By creating a spacious entry promenade on the site the building aims to blur the line between inside and out. The abundant natural light makes Pine Rivers feel inviting and comfortable rather than ominous and oppressive like courts of the past. This idea is fundamental to the design of the courthouse promoting feelings of openness, transparency and safety. Generous overhangs protecting the large windows allow the landscaped forecourt to visually enter the building. Like many of Guymer Bailey’s public buildings the architect and artist have worked closely together. The result, a sensitive, sculptural element tied to the architecture and site. Large stainless steel reeds scattered along the edge of the podium make their way into the building, casting colourful shadows from the dichromatic coloured glass during the day and lit up at night by a LED light strip abstractly representing the creek below.

The creation of a transparent public space that connects to the exterior promotes a calming environment that is beneficial in the often stressful situation of a court proceeding. Pine Rivers Courthouse and Watch house successfully embraces the paradigm shift that good pedestrian and landscape integration along with architecture and art greatly benefits the community. ď Ž





Architecture and Interior Design GROUP GSA + HASSELL Town Planner GROUP GSA + HASSELL Accessibility and DDA Morris Goding Acoustic consultant PKA Acoustics BCA Consultant Dix Gardner Electrical Engineer Meinhardt Hydraulic Consultant Meinhardt Fire Services Engineer Meinhardt Mechanical Engineer SKM Lift Engineer SKM ESD SKM Structural Engineer TTW Façade Engineer TTW Fire Engineering consultant Defire Quantity Surveyor Currie + Brown Principal Certifying Authority Davis Langdon Security, Communications and In-Court Technology IPP Consulting In-Court Acoustics ICE Wind Modelling WindTech Crowd Modelling SKM Crowd Modelling

Queens Square Law Courts GroupGSA and HASSELL GroupGSA and HASSELL have undertaken one of the most significant projects in Sydney with the refurbishment of the Queens Square Law Courts Building. This 27 storey, 1970s modern heritage building in Macquarie Street, Sydney, houses the High Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, Supreme Court of NSW and their associated operational departments. Fundamental to the design is the implementation of the philosophy of an open, transparent court process, the collegiality of judicial staff and incorporation of new technologies. Design quality, the creation of spaces and the selection of materials befitting this important public institution, together with durability and longevity have been key drivers in the design process. The building has also received major life safety and maintenance upgrades, extending its usable life by incorporating notable ESD benefits. The project is to be constructed over an extended period with the courts continuing to operate throughout the delivery of a staged upgrade. The project presented an opportunity to provide new court facilities that express openness, accessibility, transparency, optimism and dignity, appropriate for a modern Australian society and its legal system. The existing facilities are some 30 years old, and reflect the values and attitudes of the past, where security, privacy and the separation and the independence of the court were paramount. The architecture is strongly ‘defensive’, while the interior design is ‘institutional’. The primary objectives of the new design are: — bring daylight into the court in an egalitarian way; — provide access to views where practicable and effective; — share the access to views between all court users;

— configure the judges’ chambers and their associated current facilities to engender a sense of collegiality and shared purpose; — create a ceremonial court which befits the significance of its importance in Australia’s legal system; — optimise the significance and natural beauty of the site as far as is possible; and — within the constraints of the existing building fabric, ensure that the redeveloped facilities provide optimum flexibility and capacity for the future operations of the court. The opening of the courtrooms to light and views is a complete reversal of the building’s original philosophy. The new interventions however adopt the same logic of clear expression of new function in a component methodology. At the city scale, adjustments to the facade will provide a subtle increase in transparency, while maintaining the powerful ‘mathematical’ language of the existing facade. The challenge of technology and its impact on the court

Traditionally, courts have had a ‘bustle’, a specific ambience: the shuffle of paper, forceful or hushed conversations, a nervous sense of humanity that was either muffled by or reverberating in the reflective volumes of the stone and timber courts. While, at times this could have been considered distracting — and certainly judges and advocates held differing views on how much sound was appropropriate — this bustle was generlly considered a positive element of courtroom ambience. Today’s courts, however, are recording studios. The needs of contemporary courts: recording speech,


Queens Square Law Courts GroupGSA and HASSELL


replay, transcripts, remote witness and remote accused technology, coupled with projection means modern courts are now at the forefront of recording technologies and sound reinforcement systems. Unfortunately, meeting such specific acoustic criteria can result in what is known as a ‘dead space’. At QSLC, the court designs create a balance between many of these competing interests. On the one hand, the design accommodates the recording studio brief of the courts, and on the other, the open door policy which encourages public access, the street of the public lobby and the inevitable mobile phone and passerby conversations. The design is further complicated by an existing envelope with steel frame structure, notorious for transfer of noise. The staged nature of the programme has called for fine tuning the outcomes together with the technicians and the jurisdictions. This process is not completely iterative, yet with so many parties involved, and the variety of courts and their judicial applications, the development of a complete solution is a continuing process. 



Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts HASSELL Exploring the challenge


A building of this nature needs to perform a very important symbolic function in respect to the position and history of Australia’s democratic system. The design of the complex needed to respect the status of four jurisdictions namely the High Court, Federal Court, Family Court and Federal Magistrates’ Court, while at the same time presenting a unified whole. It was important for the architectural design and functions to respond to the central issue of the Australian law being continually adjusted to reflect changes in our society; the law court is expected to uphold the law, to demonstrate independence and to reflect the sovereignty of the people. The public need to feel welcome rather than intimidated. Accountability and transparency were key characteristics as was accessibility within the design. An innovative response

Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture HASSELL Project Manager Thinc Projects Structural / Civil Engineer, Building Services Connell Mott MacDonald Acoustic / Environmental Engineer VIPAC Construction Manager Hansen Yuncken

It is vital that the architecture and interior design establish a symbolism and functionality appropriate for this significant type of building. The dignity of the building speaks of its importance yet it also allows its users and occupants to go about their business as calmly and efficiently as possible. It is easy to understand, it reveals itself and encourages the public to witness the work of the courts. The design embodies an egalitarian expression of civic pride, and provides a physical expression of a diverse yet united Australian culture. An individual approach

The design reflects a uniquely South Australian identity and strongly relates to its site and context on Victoria Square; the centre of the city’s court and legal

precinct. Consistent with the aims of accessibility, the building is flexible, efficient and functional, providing a safe and refreshing environment for all occupants, users and visitors. Opportunities for natural light and external views of the Adelaide Hills, Gulf St Vincent and the central business district are shared by all through the use of atria and windows to every courtroom — replacing the traditional introverted courtroom with a new generation of extroverted spaces. The optimum use of these qualities contributes to the effect of transparency and clarity, offering a sense of calm and providing an atmosphere that enables long periods of concentration without tension. The architectural response facilitates collegiality and good working relationships and provides for the needs of litigants and other users. Future Proofing Design For Anticipated Technology Changes

The project is arguably one of the first court complexes to successfully address the challenges of fully integrated court technologies. A particular project aim was to embrace technology, yet have its infrastructure disappear from view, as well as designing systems that were flexible enough to cope with future changes without unduly effecting the courts’ operation, or the fabric of the courtroom environment. Hidden power and data cabling was achieved by the integration of proprietary cable management systems (ducting, trays, umbilicals) with well designed joinery. The physical elements of the courtroom, i.e., the benches are connected to the court technology infrastructure via an underfloor cavity and network of cable trays. The otherwise ‘drumlike’ acoustics were addressed through the use of a proprietary access floor system, comprised of concrete-filled steel sandwich panels screwed into the


Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts HASSELL


support structure to achieve a solid feel under foot. Flexible arrangements for accommodating additional bar tables was achieved through utilising proprietary folding table systems with integrated cable management, connected to flush floor box outlets using plugin connections. When not in use, the floor boxes remain flush with the floor surface, thus avoiding any tripping hazard to users of the courtroom. All of the courtroom cabling emanates from a rack cabinet located in the corner of the courtroom or an adjacent IT room to allow simple reconfiguration of the outlet points on patching panels. The corner rack compartment provides a vertical riser connection between the underfloor and above ceiling services zones and the raised judges bench platform creates an accessible under floor workspace for technicians needing to work on the cabling infrastructure. The ceiling design is also based upon an accessible suspended grid system concealing a network of cable trays, air conditioning ductwork, hearing augmentation, sound reinforcement speakers, fire sprinklers, lighting and structural support for suspended AV monitors. Definition in detail

The thoughtful approach that defined the broad design extends throughout the project which comprises 22 courtrooms, judges’ chambers, library, administration and registry, housed within 23,000 square metres. Two six-storey south facing glass atria provide the changing qualities of natural light. Seven of the courtrooms are contained within the ‘opal’ vessel of the building; its patina copper skin identifying it as the ceremonial part of the court. An indigenous court is integrated within the ceremonial

courts. It is designed in the ‘round’ to resemble the indigenous process of meeting in a circle on natural ground and acknowledge the traditional meeting place of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide plains. Within the building, public spaces and courtrooms are finished in a range of natural materials of Australian and South Australian origin, including copper, red gum timbers and granite. The copper, in particular, symbolises South Australia’s thriving copper mining industry in the early colonial settlement era. The building’s external finishes draw upon the local Adelaide environment, as is particularly evident in the façade which reflects the colours of the Adelaide Hills and Plains throughout the seasons. The green metal cladding to the Opal is pre-weathered copper sheeting installed in the traditional roofing methods used for this material over hundreds of years. 


Roma Mitchell Commonwealth Law Courts HASSELL





Architect Warren and Mahoney Client Ministry of Justice W&M Project Team Roy Wilson, Bill Gregory, Nick Warring, Simon Brown, Andrew Wade, Eugene Coleman Conservation Architect Chris Cochran Project Manager The Building Intelligence Group Structural Engineer Holmes Consulting Group Services Engineer Norman Disney and Young Acoustic & A/V Design ICE Design Acoustic Engineer NDY Acoustics Fire Engineer Holmes Fire and Safety Quantity Surveyor PHC Management Contractor Mainzeal Construction

Supreme Court of New Zealand Warren and Mahoney The complex sits on the edge of the CBD adjacent Parliament and at the end of the commercial section of Lambton Quay. The Old High Court Building was built in 1879 on an east-west axis then facing the sea but now modern Office buildings, the new building on the same axis faces Lambton Quay and Parliament, making the urban design and landscape relationship with each important. A number of development options were explored for the new building with the final choice to make it small and special, rather than tall and commercial. Thus the new building sits respectfully alongside the historic building and the lower density development forms a natural margin between the open landscaping of the parliamentary precinct and the higher density CBD. The new building’s exterior bronze screen, relates the old Victorian building in both in plan, elevation, modulation and rhythm. Its design was influenced by analogies in Maori tradition of relating leadership and shelter with Pohutukawa and Rata trees. The windblown form of these trees in the landscape is developed into a rhythmic pattern which gives form, privacy, shelter and shading to the interior, utilising a durable and recycled material from New Zealand. The building stands in a shallow reflecting pool on a regular dark, basalt clad plinth at a level common with the existing building. Inside, the new courtroom is emphasised by its central position and orientation, with a library, administration and judges chambers arrayed to the edges of the building. The palette of finishes chosen for the interior is natural but refined materials that will gather a patina as they age. The lighter silver beech timber and natural concrete contrasts with the rich dark timber and plastered brick of the historic court interiors.

The design of the courtroom panelling was influenced by the spiral diamond patterns of the Kauri cone and the idea of the court as the seed of a new tradition in NZ law. The elliptical volume is clad with 2294 uniquely shaped panels of silver beech timber, producing both smooth and articulated surfaces to cater for differing acoustic properties required in the design. The room is sky-lit in order for those in the court to get some external view — often of the moving clouds above — and to provide controlled top-lighting to the space. A window in the wall opposite the Judges bench facing Lambton Quay allows not only the Judges to look out but the Public to literally see justice being done. The first floor chambers are clusters of spaces for each of the judges and their support teams, all having good natural light, mixed mode air conditioning and motorised blinds. The judges have influenced the layout, furniture and artwork in their own spaces which, though similar are accordingly all a slightly different. The interior of these spaces and the upper floor generally is strongly influenced by the library and book storage, totalling 2.5 linear km of shelving. To accommodate this all walls of the upper circulation space are entirely bookshelf lined. The judge’s chambers are also extensively fitted with built in joinery for storage of books and papers. The existing Old High Court Building which had fallen into disrepair after being vacant for 15 years was base isolated, significantly strengthened and fully restored as part of the project it now houses ancillary, administration, educational and service spaces. The restored Courtroom will be available for ceremonial uses as well as civil cases, environmental court and other non-criminal hearings. The work in the Old High


Supreme Court of New Zealand Warren and Mahoney


Court Building was guided by the Conservation Report prepared by Conservation Architect, Chris Cochran, and drew on Warren and Mahoney experience in base isolation work gained in the refurbishment of the NZ Parliament. Many elements of the building have been faithfully recreated following destruction or removal of the original fabric over time due to earthquake risk or decay. The technologies and trades involved in the two buildings are quite different, each being truly representative of their time. It is this combination along with the architectural and symbolic relationship of the two buildings that has a richness which contributes to the final successful outcome. ď Ž

Supreme Court of New Zealand Warren and Mahoney




Supreme Court of Victoria Billard Leece Partnership Tradition and Future


architect Billard Leece Partnership Consultant Team Peter Chapman [Supreme Court of Victoria] Peter Lovell [Lovell Chen] Peter Hatty [Lincolne Scott] Sam Alexander [WT Partnership] Ben Luder [Vision Design] Neil Dubout [IPP Consulting] Michaela Hatters [Lincolne Scott] Peter Nguyen [Lincolne Scott] Frank Gargano [Arup] Michael Dowsett [Marshall Day Acoustics] Ian McWaters [Transport Design Consultants] David Graham [Arup] Builder & Construction Managers Keith Gilmartin [L.U. Simon Builders] Photographer Peter Bennetts

The Supreme Court of Victoria Upgrade is the first wholesale upgrade of the building since its construction circa 1870. The program required, amongst other works, the upgrade and restoration of six major historic courtrooms to improve their functional performance with minimal perceived modern day intervention. The retention and conservation of the significant fabric of the building was of paramount importance. New and additional works aimed at improving the facilities were carefully assessed to determine their affect. The upgrade can be broadly categorised into the areas: acoustics, lighting, cooling and ventilation. Acoustics and vision is fundamental to the understanding of law courts as a building type. An extensive design research determined the installation of line array loudspeaker systems to improve an aging sound system and echo resulting from the three storey high ceilings and the predominance of ornate hard surfaces. Multiple speakers within the column were aimed at different areas of the courtroom using specialised software to provide an even spread of intelligible sound. The large high level windows occupying the upper half of the courtroom wall originally provided daylight into the rooms. Attempts to cut out glare from the sun had resulted in almost total daylight block out, leaving a low level artificial lighting as the main light source. To establish acceptable ambient lighting levels, the high level windows were re-glazed with translucent glass. The introduction of remote operable block out blinds allowed flexible glare control and were custom made to fit the arched window reveals. This ambient light was supplemented with simple modern linear task lighting on the benches.

The improved lighting conditions allowed the use of large plasma screens without contrast. The under floor space of the building — formed by inverted brick arches and cast iron piers supporting the timber floor — was utilised to install an extensive fibre network to transfer data and remote control audio and video. The equipment was hidden away in cupboards built into existing alcoves and niche rooms formed by the thickness of the load bearing masonry walls and the building’s double skin. This double masonry skin is an early example of the environmentally sustainable design contemporary principles. The separation of floor structure from the walls allows niches to be provided between the external walls and some of the walls bounding courtroom interiors. The lath and plaster ceilings within the courtrooms were interspersed with perforated cast iron roses to exhaust hot air into the roof space. In reinstating this natural ventilation system, a balance had to be struck between insulating from traffic noise on the streets while drawing in sufficient fresh air. The stack intakes were fitted with motorised dampers and the natural ventilation was supplemented with a new air conditioning system. By using the existing niche rooms, alcoves and strategically placing false walls, a tight, functional and acoustically attenuated ductwork system was woven into the 19th century fabric. The conservation management plan recognized the importance of the continuation of the Court’s intended use, so remaining as the centrepiece of the Victorian justice system. 


Structuring Justice: The Third Justice Environments Conference Court Architecture Exhibition This publication was produced on the occasion of the exhibition Structuring Justice, presented as a part of the Third Justice Environments Conference, 20–22 May 2010, at Rydges World Square, Sydney. Curator: Imogen Beynon Catalogue design: Brad Haylock ©2010 the authors and contributors. All content and imagery remains the property of its respective owners. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. The Third Justice Environments Conference is presented by the University of Western Sydney, the Court of the Future Network, and the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration.

Conference sponsors: Gold sponsor — ClearOne Silver sponsor — IDT Bronze sponsors — Potter Farrelly and Evidence Technology

Structuring Justice  
Structuring Justice  

This publication was produced on the occasion of the exhibition Structuring Justice, presented as a part of the Third Justice Environments C...