Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law
Department of Public Works, Queensland Government
Dr Stephen Long
The Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law have opened to much acclaim. The building is a radical departure from traditional court design. It exhibits a high degree of transparency and lightness appropriate to the expression of contemporary justice and to its sub-tropical locale. The new courthouse co-locating the Supreme Court and District Court is the only one of its kind in Australia, providing significant operating efficiencies through the use of shared facilities, including vehicular access through the existing Magistrates Court complex.
This 64 000 m² courthouse, built on the Queensland Place site, bounded by George, Roma and Turbot Streets in Brisbane’s CBD houses 39 courtrooms covering both civil and criminal jurisdictions, chambers for 69 judges, a library and courts administration facilities.
The design maximizes the use of daylighting to all the courts, public waiting spaces and offices through a sophisticated system of glazed walls and layered screens which surround the perimeter of the building, and vary according to the internal functional requirements of the adjacent interior space. The result is a light open courthouse, comprised of generously scaled and simply detailed internal spaces of dignity and presence.
The inclusion of internal and external gardens and courtyards throughout the building responds to the character of the sub-tropical environment and promotes healthy workplaces.
The design of the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law also contributes positively to the urban realm of the city, creating a major new public square for Brisbane, and completing and defining both the existing powerful George Street civic axis and the new Tank Street pedestrian axis.
Sustainability measures include water harvesting and recycling, passive solar design, recycled building materials, low energy air cooling systems, and the use of the double glass cavity as an integral component of the air climate control system.