Supreme Court of New Zealand, New Zealand

Warren & Mahony fuse elements of transparency and privacy for egg-shaped courtroom, New Zealand

The new Supreme Court building, on a site contiguous to the old, has some tough neighbours. In the legislature district, it’s near to the New Zealand Parliament, and a number of other public buildings of significant scale.

To ensure this much smaller building makes an impact, but sits well with its neighbours required sensitivity and skill, and of course a good deal of forethought. The plan to locate the new court in a building attached to – and on an axis with – the old showed both the forethought and the sensitivity. The skill came in providing the slightly contrary client desire of transparency and privacy required for the judge’s rooms.

Warren & Mahony have produced an elegant egg-shaped court room, whose curvilinear form somehow expresses that fairness and justice are what matters here, surrounded by an elegant and finely detailed glass-clad building, with an elegant bronze privacy screen at first floor level. This mix of transparency and privacy also provides a distinctive and locally-rooted exterior, the materials for the bronze screen were produced by recycling taps and bearings from the locality.

Ross Sturley


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