New Ross Courthouse

Co. Wexford

Paul Arnold Architects applied for planning permission for alterations and an extension to the existing New Ross Courthouse.

The existing built form expresses the primary functions of the building in simple blocks – the single volume courtroom flanked by the two stair enclosures, with the two-storey block of smaller ancillary rooms and offices to the rear. The Client’s requirement to concentrate the public entrance and legal consultation rooms to the front of the existing courtroom has generated a series of single-storey accommodation blocks separated from either side of the Protected Structure by a single-storey glass link, preserving the existing window arrangement to the courtroom. The existing stone entrance porch is relocated to a new position in front of the proposed double-height stone entrance element and glazed public entrance hall, which relates to the double-height volume of the courtroom beyond. It is intended to replace the existing modern courtroom windows with the original sash window arrangement, maintaining natural ventilation to the courtroom. Single-storey elements are introduced to the rear of the staircases to address ancillary accommodation, with a new single-storey building in the rear courtyard for additional office accommodation. The new building blocks will be expressed in a manner similar to the existing courthouse, with stone cladding to the entrance element, providing glazed rooflights to the single-storey elements for natural ventilation and day-lighting. The austere simplicity of the existing façade will be echoed in the materials and detailing of the new building. It is intended that the new elements will be separated from the existing volumes by forming single-storey and double-height glazed elements enclosing the new circulation and main entrance hall serving the courtroom and public facilities within the building, thus maintaining the legibility of the existing building volumes. The proposed design provides public access to the building from Priory Street using a new stepped arrangement up to the re-located front entrance porch, with a gently sloping path around the perimeter of the building from the existing entrance gate on Cross Street. It is intended to provide vehicular access and limited parking to the rear site for the use of the building occupants. In addition to providing new accommodation and associated building services, a comprehensive programme of repairs and refurbishment of the existing historic building fabric will be carried out in accordance with best conservation practice, including repairs to cast iron rainwater goods, slate roof coverings and structural timbers, external render, internal joinery and plasterwork and stone floors.