New Courthouse in Toronto brings six courts under one roof

A new 17-storey courthouse, featuring 63 courtrooms, 10 conference settlement rooms, and associated support facilities, has opened in downtown Toronto.Located at 10 Armoury Street, the Ontario Court of Justice building is an amalgamation of six Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) criminal courts under one roof, including specialty courts for drug treatment, youth and mental health.

NORR, in partnership with Renzo Piano Building Workshop as part of the EllisDon Infrastructure Team, was the designer of the new building.

The project was designed to stay well below the maximum allowable height, maintaining a respectful relationship to Osgoode Hall, a National Historic Site, and Toronto City Hall.“The new Toronto courthouse will help improve access to court services for visitors and occupants, while helping to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “Our government is building and modernizing key infrastructure to help connect Ontarians to the people, businesses and services they need more quickly and efficiently.”

The project is the largest courthouse in Ontario and the most accessible courthouse in the province, according to the government. The building hosts elements that include barrier-free prisoner boxes and witness boxes, and signage that is in Braille.
The design details features an exterior of layered embossed metal panels, wood frames and low iron glass, a 20-meter-tall transparent atrium surrounded by a minimal cable façade, and a 90-meter architectural mast that “marks the judicial precinct and aligns to the East portico of Osgoode Hall, and the northern terminus of York Street,” says NORR.

“The design concept is defined by a desire to reimagine the institutional building and the courthouse in particular as an integral civic component within the city that is accessible, dignified and independent,” says NORR. “As a team we have been able to create a facility that acknowledges the significant history of the site while also looking to the future.”