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Durham Region Courthouse, Oshawa, Canada

Thursday 30 Jun 2011

A symbol of justice

Durham Region Courthouse by WZMH Architects in Oshawa, Canada
Shai Gil Photography 
Durham Region Courthouse by WZMH Architects in Oshawa, Canada Durham Region Courthouse by WZMH Architects in Oshawa, Canada Durham Region Courthouse by WZMH Architects in Oshawa, Canada Durham Region Courthouse by WZMH Architects in Oshawa, Canada Durham Region Courthouse by WZMH Architects in Oshawa, Canada
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17/03/13 Farah, Cairo
Such a monolithic mass!
Award Entry

New courthouse represents a physical embodiment of the justice system interpreted in a modernist language 

Durham Consolidated Courthouse With its carefully scaled massing and richly patterned cladding of spandrel and clear glass, the Durham Consolidated Courthouse makes a significant contribution to the civic architecture of the emerging urban framework of downtown Oshawa. Its bold, modern vocabulary emphasises transparency and openness, both for users and passers-by.

A large outdoor public space, Courthouse Square, acts as the forecourt to the building entrance and creates opportunities for civic engagement. The scale of the main entrance pavilion on the square establishes a sense of dignity, appropriate for the front door of a courthouse. The courthouse elevations are highly transparent, using clear glass with a rich mosaic of white ceramic frit glass panels. Exhibiting a new typology for a typical courtroom floor the design has a ‘back to back’ arrangement of courtrooms that results in short walking distances for judges and staff and makes natural light and outdoor views available to courtroom waiting areas and public circulation.

Providing badly needed space for the province´s judicial system, this six-storey structure houses 33 courtrooms, including associated support space and facilities for holding prisoners for a total of 40,000 sq m facility. For planning efficiency, high-volume functions are located at or near grade. Sustainability (LEED) The design includes innovations in energy performance that will result in energy savings of 42%, in comparison with comparable scale buildings completed within the last ten years.

The Durham Consolidated Courthouse is the first government building in Ontario to achieve LEED Gold, Certified by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). A compact plan with a low ratio of exterior wall to enclosed floor area minimises the area of the exterior envelope, reducing energy consumption. A pattern of spandrel glass panels reduces the percentage of vision glass contributing to an overall building energy consumption that is 42% less than the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. The courthouse received the 2011 RAIC Building Award of Excellence Green-Building Award and the 2008 AIA Certificate of Merit.

Location Oshawa, Ontario Client Access Justice Durham Completion January 2009 Associate Architect Cannon Design Structural Halsall Associates Limited Mechanical The Mitchell Partnership Inc. Electrical Stantec Consulting Landscape Quinn Design Associates Cost $150 million

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 75(m€)
WZMH Architects

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