Newcastle Courthouse

An open, accessible and welcoming atmosphere at this civic building is improving the user experience.


  • New South Wales, Australia

Project Value

  • AU$105 million

Project Status

  • Completed in 2015


The Newcastle Courthouse is on Hunter Street, within Newcastle’s main civic precinct. The new building was viewed as a very important part of the revitalisation of the Newcastle CBD. It replaced the existing Courthouse with a modern and functional facility to meet the city’s growing needs. The design included 12 jury and non-jury courtrooms and office accommodation. Overall, the Department of Justice wanted to create a building that was open, welcoming and easily accessible but that also conveyed its civic importance.


Flexible Building Services

The experience of the public at the new Courthouse was given high priority. Generous atriums, well-crafted waiting spaces and public artworks aimed to enhance the visitor and staff experience. To make the most of the unusual triangular shape of the site and the generous open spaces, our design team created innovative and flexible building and service systems.


Smart Lighting Design

On the exterior of the building, WSP’s lighting design team showcased the building’s large expanse of glass and wood and highlighted its preeminent position in the city. Inside, the team defined the spaces according to their use and access. The design maximised natural light in the front-of-house public areas. Where artificial lighting was used, our team adjusted its temperature to create a welcoming, calming atmosphere. The team also used decorative pendants and wall lights to provide sparkle and washes of warm white light to highlight timber finishes, linking the interior and exterior. Cooler, more neutral lighting used in offices and functional court areas also helps people to intuitively find their way.


Adding a Personal Touch

We developed various non-typical design solutions that created a high-quality result. As well as maximising energy efficiency, the building services are user-friendly. Most importantly, they enhance and humanise the court experience.

10500 sqm 10500 sqm