Hastings District court

With a few court houses under our belts, we know it is vital to carefully consider how they can last well into the future. So, when we first saw the outdated 1970’s Hastings court house, we promised ourselves the new one wouldn’t be obsolete in thirty years’ time.

Over two floors, in a brand new 3,300m² building, this District Court is three times bigger than the previous court house. Four courts, a mediation room and hearing room as well as seven judge’s chambers and custodial areas provided the spaces that the Ministry of Justice can anticipate requiring now and onwards.

But how do you future proof for changes in technology and the environment? The pace at which technology moves means it is beyond any of us to accurately predict what 2040 will look like. However, we could ensure that video conferencing, provision for secure witnesses and evidence recording were present, that wiring was flexible, easily altered and extended, security was paramount and crucially that the strain the building places on natural resources is minimised.

Sophisticated modeling systems aimed to get the best out of the air conditioning system. The end result included features like a central chiller that allows areas to be air conditioned independently – ideal when rooms are not in use. When the external air temperature reaches a certain point, a separate system replaces the chiller, supplying fresh air instead – again reducing energy demand.

Excess heat is reduced by sun shading and a low E coating on the glass that reflects heat back out, while making the most of any opportunities for natural light. Low energy light fittings, daylight monitoring and intelligent switching systems mean that where light is required, consumption is kept to a minimum.