The new Fredericton Justice Building is the first purpose-built project of its kind in the city since 1880. This courthouse will take its place alongside many important civic buildings that form part of an institutional precinct in the city centre.
The simple, solid mass of the courthouse is designed in deference to its judicial function and was inspired by the enduring, timeless quality of the many institutional buildings – the Legislature, the Fredericton Region Museum (formerly the Garrison, part of the military compound), the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and the Christ Church Cathedral among them – that have long distinguished Fredericton as a capital city and centre for government, education, military, art and faith. Contemporary applications of stone, brick, copper and concrete work in concert to create a mature, refined expression of traditional building materials and techniques that characterize much of the downtown core.
The new six-storey courthouse will fill a marked void along King Street near Regent and continue the existing street frontage. A cantilevered canopy runs the length of the King Street facade to create a more pedestrian-friendly scale at grade. The building’s main entrance sits off a new, landscape forecourt and drop-off loop. The forecourt enhances the urban condition, the arrival sequence, and the relationship between building and street.
Unobstructed access to daylight is a primary organizing element on each of upper levels. The second floor, largely dedicated to administrative functions, locates a mix of open and closed offices around the perimeter of the floor plate providing staff with excellent daylight and engaging views. On levels 3 through 6 – the courtroom floors – public circulation runs the length of the north elevation so as to enjoy views of the towards the Legislature and the St. John River; judicial chambers and lounge spaces are positioned along the south with unobstructed south daylighting and views toward the university on the hill; and courtrooms are situated along the east and west facades, looking out to downtown Fredericton.
Material applications create a durable, cost effective, high-performance envelope that is a suitably dignified, contemporary expression of local traditions and democracy. Inside, wood finishes will balance the need for a robust, high-traffic civic building with the flexibility and adaptability of an evolving judicial system.
Montgomery Sisam as Design Architect in collaboration with courthouse specialist Julian Jaffary, and local Fredericton firm Goguen Architecture.