Sydney West
Trial Courts

Sydney West
Trial Courts

Our design for the Sydney West Trial Courts (SWTC) successfully balances the functional requirements of trial court proceedings with an accessible, welcoming environment that serves a growing metropolitan region. The project is one of the first court buildings in Australia to provide five independent circulation systems that service judicial, jury, public, custody and administrative functions. The building is part of the Parramatta Justice Precinct and sits on a historic site that links to the civic setting of Parramatta. We’ve balanced the contemporary security requirements with a civic address, clear wayfinding and an abundance of natural light to create a building that eases the tensions of the court experience.

  • Sector

    Courts & Justice

  • Key Lyons contact

    Carey Lyon
    Edward Berry

  • Client

    Department of Commerce

  • Location

    6 George Street, Parramatta

  • Traditional land

    Located on the traditional lands of the Dharug, Eora and Tharawal people

  • Size

    11,100 square metres

  • Sustainability

    5 Star Green Star Design and 5 Star Green Star Interiors

  • Project status

    Complete, 2008

“[Lyons] have proven to show their sound and understanding of the user group briefing process and its delivery into the final design. I would not hesitate to recommend Lyons Architects for any similar projects involving extensive client input and delivery of the design which is both cost considerate and in compliance with the clients brief.”

Marc Van Heemst, Design Manager, Parramatta Trial Court Project, Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd (2007)

Designing an integrated justice precinct

Symbolic of over 220 years of public service to the people of NSW, the Trial Courts sit on the site of Parramatta’s original tent hospital. Part of a precinct that includes the Justice Building, Children’s Court, Trial Courts and a public square, our design completes an integrated precinct for Parramatta. SWTC is designed to accommodate and serve the diverse needs of the Drug Court, Local Court, Call-Over Court, Parole, District and Supreme Courts. The design responds directly to its environment with solid walls marking east and west and transparent walls to the north and south. This allows for the maximum benefits of natural light, provides views in and out of the building and minimises morning and afternoon heat loads and glare. The solid sides and transparent faces that address the entry make the building form, while a distinctive skin wraps the outside. The skin creates a generous canopy over the front entry, heightening accessibility and improving wayfinding. External solid cladding emphasises the entry and the primary functions within the court facility. The façade is made up of a vibrant copper puzzle of shapes, contrasting the skyline and complimenting the use of glass. From the street, the Trial Courts appear as a unified, contemporary organisation that make up a contemporary part of the precinct in Parramatta.

Specialised court planning to balance safety, amenity and comfort

Our design for Sydney West Trial Courts achieves a sense of balance for all its occupants, meeting the needs of all areas of the trial court: judicial, jury, public, custody and administrative. Our design shows that specialised court planning can address safety and security, such as separate circulation for jury and public, without compromising comfort and wellbeing. The complex takes the form of a vertical court with a block and stack design, allowing security requirements to be met at the lower levels and become more discreet on the upper levels. Where the building addresses security and amenity, it is countered with design elements that improve wellbeing. All judicial facilities are placed on upper levels and include private balconies to provide fresh air, amenity, safety and privacy. Each level has two courtrooms linked by public foyers that run through the building gaining light, outlook and a sense of release with access to framed views. Small conference rooms and courtrooms are positioned towards the face of the building while large windows help to ease tensions and direct visitors towards key circulation points. The foyers are furnished by custom-made timber benches lined with a familiar, yet abstracted domestic palette of materials to provide comfort and reduce stress and the intimidating nature of the court experience.

Key Contacts