UK Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court is located on the west side of Parliament Square in the presence of the Palace of Westminster, It was formerly the Middlesex Guildhall and is situated on an island site giving it the presence of a freestanding and independent building denoting its status as the pinnacle of the UK Legal System.

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Project Details
  • Client

    Wallis

  • Architect

    GHK

The building which is Grade 2* listed was constructed between 1911 and 1913 and underwent periodic major refurbishments. It housed a Crown Court consisting of 7 court rooms, with prisoner accommodation in the basement. The public spaces display unusually fine joinery and woodcarving. Amongst the main goals of the refurbishment was to restore the character of the building and to ensure it’s sustainable and managed reuse.

This sympathetic refurbishment aimed to provide 3 new courtrooms and a triple height library. It included the demolition of internal walls, the infill of existing voids, construction of floor and wall voids and the addition of two lift cores and a new roof plant area.

The refurbishment comprised:

Lightwell modifications
These were restored to their original condition by removing all of the later additions and opening them up for the full height of the building with new edge beams where required.

New court 2
This double height court was formed at first floor level in the south wing and extends its full width, as a column-free space, involving removal of the added second floor slab and replacing internal columns with transfer beams at roof level.

New library
A new opening, 6.0m by 7.5m, was introduced through the centre of the existing floor, trimmed by steel beams to give column free space.

New main service risers
Seven new risers were introduced into the building by introducing secondary steelwork to support the floors.

Roof modifications
The pitched roofs adjacent the internal lightwells were removed and rebuilt as flat roofs, increasing the usable plant space at high level. This approach preserved external elevation views of the building.

The glass roofs over the north and south lightwells offer the only blast protection to the lower floors and glazed roofs designed for secondary blast loading of 10kn/m2 have been provided.

The lower ground masonry vaults are supported on a new steel frame to allow for the space to be utilised as a new exhibition area.

The project also included a close collaboration with the stone masons to ensure the quality and durability of the repairs to the exterior façade.

The detailed intricate work of returning this building to its former glory, involved demolition, design and construction to a very tight programme.

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