Norman Disney & Young (NDY) commenced design development in 2006 for the finalised scheme – a major refurbishment and restoration of the existing Old High Court Building alongside a significant new Supreme Court building on the site of the former Justice Park on Lambton Quay, Wellington.

This project required a sensitive renovation of the existing heritage building combined with the provision of a state-of-the-art new Supreme Court building. The design brief required innovative solutions that optimised the internal environmental quality, occupant comfort and energy signature of the building.

The Supreme Court complex incorporates several sustainable features. The HVAC system was designed to accommodate the highly variable occupancy and usage patterns anticipated throughout the building. Displacement ventilation was chosen for the large public spaces to provide high quality internal conditions with minimal energy consumption. Displacement ventilation, which was a feature of the Old High Court Building, allows fresh airflow into the new courtroom and library in the new building and the No 1 Courtroom and the conference room in the Old High Court Building.

Solar panels provide water heating for the complex. In addition, the building fabric and external bronze screen were designed to provide a high performance thermal envelope that limits solar gain, reduces heat loss and acts as a security threshold. NDY undertook computer based energy modelling and lighting simulation of the building to optimise the fabric performance and the artificial lighting design while allowing good views and daylight penetration to be achieved architecturally.

Interior lighting was selected to illuminate and open up each space and highlight specific architectural features. Courtroom lighting was arranged to provide high levels of illumination at the judges bench for television broadcasting and video conferencing purposes.