The Shepparton Law Court Redevelopment sought to pursue cultural and civic importance affirming its place in the community. The country courthouse, along with other public buildings forms the heart of regional Australian town centres. The design is an example of civic architecture reflecting solidity, protection and permanency, whilst supporting contemporary justice applications of openness, transparency, equality and accessibility.
The prominent corner is original location of the first Koori Court in Victoria, the redevelopment completes the Justice Precinct; including the Police Station and 1930s heritage Supreme Court building.
The building plan is ‘L’ shaped with an east-west axis providing abundant natural light and aspects towards the Goulburn River parklands. Public waiting spaces and courtrooms are generous in scale, calm in character, with connections to views and daylight light.
Entry to the precinct was inspired by the River Red Gum, the enduring image of the large ancient tree in the floodplains of the Goulburn River; suggests shade, shelter and the offering of a gathering place.
The ancient tree informed the initial design principles; internally, wrapped layered bands of timber and tiles represent the distorted trunk and root system, whilst externally, the perforated metal sun screen distils and shades the intense sun.
The six main courtrooms are adaptable with the capacity to accommodate multiple options and caseload requirements, they are secure and comfortable with separate spaces supporting juries, the judiciary, law enforcement officers, legal services, volunteers, staff and administrative services.
In recognition of the heritage courthouse, key moments reference the “red brick civic memory”.
A solid brick plinth along the façade grounds the building to material junctions and interfacing panels, extending to the landscaped forecourt. Clad in a mix of glass, translucent and solid materials, the composition of the building façade responds to the complex internal program, urban context and site orientation..