Due for completion in 2014 the Newcastle Courthouse will be one of the busiest court complexes in Australia.
The modern design of the building features the work of local artists including an impressive front facade.
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Construction at the Hunter Street site began in January 2013, with more than 1,500 people working on the project.
Topics: courts-and-trials, regional-development, community-and-society, regional, newcastle-2300
“This is in the centre of Newcastle and there is parking that surrounds the courthouse and there’s public transport,” she said.
Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said it was important to remember the project was a Labor initiative dating back to 2010.
“This is a big project to deliver and it took some time to deliver. We wanted to get it right.”
Large windows and 190 solar panels are aimed at making the most of natural light and reducing the building’s carbon footprint.
The old courthouse has long been notorious for its antiquated facilities, pest problems and damp, dark conditions.
“It’s good to see the government following through with it.”
The need to convey the civic importance of the justice system, and differentiate the complex from other buildings in the surrounding commercial precinct while simultaneously being sympathetic to the overall urban environment.Selection of materials, finishes and detailing to ensure the complex is perceived at a level commensurate with its civic stature.Placing greater emphasis on the experience of the general public using the complex to counterbalance the formality of the building and the legal system. This has been addressed through ease of wayfinding, comfortable waiting and working environments with high levels of amenity including access to daylight and outlook, and configurations that ensure separation of opposing parties.Maximising the benefits of the central location and site aspect. The internal public circulation and waiting spaces overlook the courthouse forecourt to take advantage of both good solar access and the desirable harbour views beyond. This amenity is combined with natural materials and calming interiors.
The $90m justice precinct replaces the old Church Street building that has been operating for almost 124 years.
“This takes justice to another level; it makes justice better for victims who come before the courts.”
The development application for the construction of the $94 million courthouse complex has now been submitted to council. It will be located in the heart of the Newcastle civic precinct.
The State Government has released four digitally illustrated images that provide a lifelike impression of the architect’s design for the building’s façade.
Court staff will spend the week moving into the building before District and Local Court sittings begin on Monday, February 22.
A large proportion of the building’s façade will be glass, enabling the complex to be filled with natural light.
The complex features 10 modern courtrooms, two tribunal rooms that cater for Local, District and Supreme Court hearings and a courtroom big enough to host trials with eight defendants.
But Ms Upton paid tribute to the building, saying it had served the community well.
For the first time, media and dignitaries, including the Chief Justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court Tom Bathurst and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, toured the facility this morning.
Unique light fittings feature as part of the court’s design.
The project is a catalyst of the rejuvenation of heart of Newcastle and a new benchmark for justice facilities in NSW, says Cox Richardson director Nick Tyrrell.
“The opening of this modern, state-of-the-art courthouse, sitting at the heart of the civic precinct of Newcastle, is also symbolic of the growing importance of the provision of legal services outside Sydney.”
The new courthouse had been slated for completed by October last year, but was delayed several times.
Ms Upton dismissed concerns the court’s new location would pose difficulties for parking.
“It sets a new benchmark for court services, and the local community and the Hunter region should be very proud.
“This is an exciting opportunity to create an egalitarian solution by prioritising public benefit and minimising the stress of unpaid participants in the legal process,” said Tyrrell.
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“That rather imposing courthouse has given the people of Newcastle and the Hunter region 124 years of service but it’s now time to move on,” she said.
Newcastle’s justice system has entered a new era, with the opening of a long-awaited courthouse in the heart of the city.
The Hunter Street development will include 10 courtrooms and 2 tribunal rooms in a seven storey building that ultimately aims for ‘justice to be seen’ through improved public accessibility and engagement with court processes.
Photo: The new Newcastle Courthouse cost $90m to build. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The new Newcastle Court is located in the city’s civic precinct. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The court’s external design has attracted diverse opinions.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: Artwork in the court’s foyer was inspired by Aboriginal culture. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The court was designed to help visitors feel comfortable.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: Abstract shapes are prominent in the seven storey court’s design. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The colour scheme inside the court includes warm wooden tones.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The new court has views extending out over Newcastle Harbour. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The court includes mediation rooms for legal professionals to meet with clients.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The new court includes an assembly area for up to 200 potential jurors. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: Newcastle Court includes a safe room for children in sensitive cases to stay in during proceedings.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: The shield of NSW hangs behind the judge’s seat. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: Large TV screens in the court will be used to display evidence. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: Natural light is allowed to flood into the 10 court rooms, next to the jury bench.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton officially opens the new Newcastle Courthouse. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Photo: Unique light fittings feature as part of the court’s design.
(1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)
The first concept images have been released of Cox Richardson Architects’ designs for what will be the largest court development in regional NSW since colonial times, the Newcastle Courthouse
“It was Jodi McKay and the [then] Labor government that bought the land and put it into the budget,” he said.
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“Today’s opening marks an important event in Newcastle’s history,” he said.
The courthouse complex will comprise a podium-like structure that will wrap around the intersection of Hunter Street and Burwood Street. The upper levels of the seven storey building will be set back from the street frontages and boundaries.
Cox Richardson Architects were engaged by the Department of Attorney General & Justice to create a design solution to address Newcastle’s growing Local, District and Supreme Court needs.
New South Wales Attorney General Gabrielle Upton officially opened the building, calling it a “flagship regional project”.
NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith announced: “The DA provides a vision for the largest court development in regional NSW since colonial times.”
The new Newcastle Courthouse concept unveiled, as designed by Cox Richardson Architects
“The design seeks to integrate the civic importance and high level functionality needs of all users.”