Singapore State Courts

Serie + Multiply with CPG Corporation

Law courts are typically designed in a conservative manner due to circulation requirements that keep judges, persons-in-custody, and the public separate.

In contrast, the new Singapore State Courts towers are designed to be highly open and visible. This is achieved by two architectural strategies. First, the building is split into two slender towers connected by footbridges. The front tower accommodates courtrooms and the back tower the judges’ chambers and staff offices. This move not only brings light deep into the building but helps keep circulation separate. The second strategy is to place the courtroom boxes onto large open ‘trays’. These trays are not only of different heights to fit courtrooms of different sizes, but also completely open. Each tray accommodates a lushly planted terrace that filters the tropical sun and allows views out over the city. The courtrooms are clad in pigmented pre-cast panels, inspired by the colours and textures of the adjacent historic Chinatown shophouses. The intention is to bring together two typical forms of architecture from the immediate area—the high-rise and the shophouse—into a single frame so that the new building is at once familiar and yet excitingly new. The office tower is expressed as a thin and elegant slab tower. Vertically, the grid contracts where the service core is located and expands where light and views are required. The modulation of the horizontal grids draws the eye across the facade and towards the sky, giving an absolute form and a sense of playful rhythm.