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New Court Facility for the Borough of Lisburn

Part 2 Project 2000
Ryan Gillespie
Queen's University Belfast Belfast UK
The project brief was to provide a new court facility for the Borough of Lisburn,. The building was to feature 4 courtrooms and associated facilities on a steep disused site beside Castle Gardens, close to the town centre.The aims and objectives of the project were to create a pleasant and secure environment for all users. The youth / family court was given a separate identity so as to omit conflict between users of this court and cases of a more serious nature. The building where possible was designed to allow the passing public views of internal activities, in contrast to the
fortifications of forebearers. Obvious strict security matters could not be forgotten though, so access to the facility needed to be strictly controlled. It was also felt that the building should attempt to integrate with Castle Gardens.It was felt that the siteís dramatic features should be celebrated, such as the Castle Garden fortifications and the steep slope of the site. The stone wall that divided the site from Castle Gardens was one example of a useful
existing feature. The strong dividing element of the wall allowed a strong break to be created between the youth and adult courts, signifying a hope that the youth court users may still be rescuable.A conscious decision was made from the outset that the buildingís main entrance should be off Castle Gardens as opposed to Castle Street. This decision strengthened the buildingís relationship with the park while the introduction of external public spaces and thoroughfares on the site helped to soften the buildingsí image.The image of the building was to be of importance from all directions, as the site was virtually unbounded. Due to this reason, and also because of the need for security, the location of the custody facilities were sited underground.Internally, the design brief was to create a series of spaces that would
comfort and protect the court user. The main court foyer, the major public space, combatted this by featuring a series of layered zones to suit the mood of the user. The individual courtrooms were to be the most important and celebrated elements of the design as a reflection of the importance of
justice.

Ryan Gillespie


Ryan Gillespie's scheme for new law courts in Lisburn was a challenging brief within a sensitive site. In the light of Northern Ireland's present political climate his first consideration was whether to design new law courts with a contemporary aesthetic for an existing legal system, or new law courts with a contemporary aesthetic for a new legal system. He chose his own route, designing an uncompromisingly modern building whose gregarious character belies the complex security issues that he chose to take on board and resolve to perfection.

This scheme is a complete thesis in its true meaning. It has been executed in a thoroughly professional manner: from a strong conceptual idea in the concept of the building as a bookcase, through to the design detailing and modelling of the courtrooms.

It is with extreme pride that I recommend to the RIBA Ryan Gillespie for the RIBA Silver Medal.

Jane D Burnside
Tutor and final year coordinator

2000
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