Tim Imrie/Ministry of Justice
© Tim Imrie/Ministry of Justice

UK Supreme Court

Reinventing the old Middlesex Guildhall as the new Supreme Court (the final UK court of appeal for all civil and criminal cases) has been an inspired project, accomplished to a strict timetable of constitutional and legislative change. The original building, designed by Gibson and Skipwith and opened in 1913, was notable for its Gothic Revival style and sculpture-encrusted Portland stone. It occupies a prime site on the north-west corner of Parliament Square.

Malcolm Reading Consultants was originally appointed by the Department of Constitutional Affairs, now the Ministry of Justice, to write the design brief for the new UK Supreme Court (UKSC).

Our principal role was to reconcile the operational requirements that could be accommodated in the Grade II* listed building with the specific aspirations of the Law Lords, (now known as Justices) and other stakeholders. We worked alongside the architect, Foster and Partners, assisted by conservation architect, Feilden + Mawson, to establish a final brief for the building. As the Court was assuming a new legal and constitutional role, the refurbishment needed to provide a distinct identity and be worthy of media and public scrutiny.

The specification and procurement stages ran concurrently with the refurbishment of the building and we were subsequently retained to advise on a major Art programme which involved high profile artists such as Sir Peter Blake and the former Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion. We also project managed the high-specification fit-out which included bespoke furniture and joinery, curtains and textiles, signage and security installations.