This project involved the construction of a new modern courthouse to accommodate four courtrooms and associated facilities and adaptation of the municipal offices, a protected structure built as the Tate School between 1864 and 1866 to provide a total floor area of 4,680m². The building composition respects the existing building and uses similar high-quality stone and brick materials whilst providing a contemporary expression of an important civic function. A new public entrance forecourt has been provided which is framed by the existing building, the new public entrance, and a pedestrian canopy entrance. Internally the building is organised around the centrally located courtrooms. There are two courtrooms at first floor level and two at second floor level. The central location of the courtrooms allows the functional ease of circulation routes for judges, jurors, the public, and those in custody to be optimised. Support offices are located at ground floor level and within the existing building which enjoy attractive views outwards towards the river.
This was a very challenging project in many different aspects and some of the issues we encountered and dealt with included:
- Demanding conservation requirement
- Uncharted areas of conservation importance discovered during the build
- Complex layout – multiple transfer structures
- Large span courtrooms
- Highly serviced building – challenged by the building height (Part 9 Planning granted before design-build procurement which locked in building height constraints)
- Top-down construction over an existing ESB Main Substation
- Many level changes to accommodate the existing building, the site levels and variety of floor finishes.
- The assessment and stiffening of 150-year-old materials and structure.