ofInternational architects Denton Corker Marshall have been granted planning approval for another new major court building in the UK - the proposed new Magistrates’ Court in Birmingham. The practice was recently nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize with their Manchester Civil Justice Centre.
The proposed Birmingham Magistrates' Court's design is comprised of 24 court rooms plus ancillary accommodation for staff, judiciary, witnesses, defendants, legal professionals and members of the public totalling approximately 20,600 sq m over 13 levels. The 24 courtrooms will be located on levels one to six with four courtrooms per floor. General administration and the judicial accommodation will be located on the upper four floors of the building. These will wrap around a central internal atrium to create a dynamic and interactive working environment.
Describing the design, Director Barrie Marshall commented:
“The building is closed in a single curvilinear silver metal ‘gown’ from ground to roof level. Into this surface, a series of irregular horizontal slotted and stepped cut-outs provide daylight to courtrooms and public consultation areas. At court level translucent white glass-clad boxes containing consultation and magistrates’ retiring rooms cantilever beyond the curvilinear surface reflecting the rectilinear nature of the internal planning and offering a more complex external reading of the building form.
“We wanted to give it an expressive and special character, so by creating a singular sculptural curved form that is perforated and punctuated, it becomes a more civic gesture in the company of the commercial and residential buildings that surround it."
The new building will be located close to the city centre and will provide a landmark within the Masshouse Masterplan. The new court building is required to replace the existing Magistrates’ Court accommodation within the Victoria Law Courts (VLC) and it is intended that construction will commence before the end of 2009. The VLC is a Grade 1 listed building that will be retained by Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) and refurbished through a separate project once the new building has been completed.