Located in Bolton St in the Newcastle city centre, the Federal Courts of Australia (FCA) recently underwent a major refurbishment and extension. The footprint of the existing Family Court of Newcastle was expanded through to an adjacent building, adding approximately 1,000m² of floorspace – including two new family courtrooms, two new executive offices, and offices for associated legal fraternity – to the facility.
The project was completed by GHD and GHDWoodhead an integrated business, specialising in architecture and interior design, as well as structural and building services.
Acknowledging the gravitas associated with the judicial system and the serious situations those who visit the building find themselves in, the designers sought to create a tranquil environment. The path from the front entrance is a journey. Wave-like sculptural screens separate the waiting area into separate spaces and provide a welcome artistic distraction, while the courtrooms themselves – with their thoughtfully selected finishes and soft curves – evoke a sense of calm.
Similarly, timber veneered wall panels with curved details draw the attention forward and the FCA's bespoke acoustic ceilings mimic the wall panel curvature and further add to the ambience.
Blinds by Verosol
As they generally do when they need such products, the designers specified window coverings from Verosol, a supplier of a range of high-performance products for all types of commercial and residential applications.
They used Ambience Twin Multi-Link Roller Blinds – with 231 Veroscreen G3 semi-transparent fabric in white grey 6500 and 710 Aspect blockout fabric in Accord 8000 – extensively throughout the FCA. In the Manager’s and Registrar’s offices, they went with the chain control option, while in the courtrooms, chambers, and associates’ offices, they chose the motorised version.
The Ambience Twin Multi-Link Roller Blind is an elegant and practical solution suitable for day and night use. As its name suggests, it includes two blinds that are operated in unison by a single mechanism (which is either motorised or chain-controlled). Ideal for use with larger windows like those in the Newcastle FCA, it minimises unnecessary chains, while providing excellent light control, greater privacy, uninterrupted views, and indoor/outdoor accessibility.
All these factors are particularly relevant in a legal setting. Privacy and light control are both essential, so reliable window coverings were a high priority for the designers.
As was flexibility. That’s another advantage of the Ambience Twin Multi-Link Roller Blinds. As a twin system, it incorporates two separate roller blinds (of different fabrics) together within a single bracket. In this case, a blind made from a semi-transparent screen fabric (Verosol 231 Veroscreen G3) is positioned close to the glazing with a block out blind (of Verosol 710 Aspect) as the front layer.
Verosol 231 Veroscreen G3 is a premium fade resistant and flame retardant fabric, constructed from a fine 2x1 weave. Delicate to the touch, it controls glare and minimises heat gain, without cutting the space off from the outside world.
Meanwhile the Verosol 710 Aspect, a plain-woven blockout fabric with a soft touch opaque backing faces into the rooms. With its clean, uniform appearance, it delivers maximum room darkening, total privacy, and acoustic performance.
Aesthetic appeal and reliable operation
Incorporated together in one system and mounted within a single bracket, these two fabrics ensure just the right mix of aesthetic appeal and reliable operation. Their easy elegance complements the softly sculptured materials used elsewhere in the building and contribute to its calming ambience.
Having worked extensively with Verosol in the past, the GHDWoodhead and GHD team were again delighted, not just with the quality of these window covering products but also with the level of assistance and support provided by the company. With Verosol’s assistance, they were able to meet their brief and deliver a facility that looks great and satisfies the Federal Courts of Australia’s specific functional requirements.