Queensland's new Justice Precinct aims to generate a new typology with the courts as an integral ingredient of public life
The Justice Precinct is located at the end of the main civic street axis of Ipswich, the fastest growing regional city in Queensland. The generating idea was to shape the building into an L-shape such that a public space, rather than a traditional monumental frontage, engaged the public realm. This strategy also engendered depth into the site such that the Courts functional components are evident, and such that transparency is optimised by climate orientation.
The third edge of the public courtyard is formed by a police station presenting the first of a sequence of integrated artworks created by collaboration with 10 local artists. This first work is a play on the police graphic, the next being a series of concrete carvings that interpret cultural identities of the city (153), other works extending through the courts to convey different cultural interpretations. These works equally respond to the materiality of the precinct, utilising raw, inherently patina’d surfaces that reinforce the sense of human intervention and presence.
The Courts design resolves a particular complexity of combining Magistrates (without jury) and District (with jury) Courts, requiring four varied and separate circulation modes; public, judiciary, prisoner and jury. This resolution is accomplished by pairing courts around vertical cores, simultaneously facilitating views from and daylight into the courtrooms. This strategy enabled the courtyard interface of each level to be entirely for public activity, the geometric shifts in its plane creating discrete gathering spaces. (262)
The overall composition is anchored by an engaged tower that reflects Ipswich’s renown as Australia’s city of spines, further relating the precinct to public buildings of other uses.
This project was completed in association with AB+M Architects