Brisbane Magistrates Courts


2005 AIA Architecture Award Building of the Year.

The design of Brisbane Magistrates Court seeks to redefine the conventional typology of justice buildings – monumental, and independent of the city – to one which is civic, engaging and connective.

The principle of connectivity generated the earliest conceptual form at competitive stage, the site and building being shaped to provide for a missing link between the CBD and Roma Street Parklands. This link is currently being progressed.  Together with pre-empting other possible connections, such as across the river to the Millennium Arts Precinct, an aim was to foresee the courts as a place of focus for public activity.

The resulting triangular geometry facilitated a way to make justice buildings more transparent, and therefore accessible and participating in city life.  The plan opens up towards the Parklands centralising public space through the interior and affording outlook north and south.

Other initiatives to increase public engagement included reinterpreting the briefed cafeteria as an external café to activate the forecourt.

The primary generation of architectural form and space derived from collaboration with artists chosen to undertake particular works, but also to engage in dialogue concerning reciprocality between art and architecture.

The works act to enrich the socio-cultural accessibility of the building inside and out, the forms and materials of the building deriving from interactions with the artists and from ESD responses to different climatic orientations.  A further approach was to explore relationships between the forms of large to small scale elements – of roofs and sunscreens, seats and façade patterns – as a means of enhancing accessibility through these scale and proportional relationships.

Joint venture project with Cox Rayner.

Design, documentation and quality inspections.

Client: Queensland Government.