One of the challenges in designing Thunder Bay’s new courthouse has been to create a harmony between the building’s design and its physical surroundings. To meet this challenge, the project architects have looked to Thunder Bay’s natural environment for their inspiration.
The natural elements of the Thunder Bay region will find representation in the courthouse’s massing and organization and in the materials used throughout the building. The landforms of the Canadian Shield that surrounds Thunder Bay are echoed in the form of the building. Stone and wood will be used prominently at the building’s base for their durability and for their symbolic value, to convey an impression of substance and permanence that affirms the dignity and authority of the courts. The predominantly glass tower that surmounts the base will feature a glazed curtain wall with textured articulation on the building’s north face, designed to evoke the region’s many waterfalls.
A civic plaza on the site’s northeast corner will serve as a ceremonial space of assembly for the courthouse leading to the public entrance. The plaza will be augmented by a contemplative public space located off Chapples Lane and linear, pedestrian walkways along the site perimeter.
Within the building, the public entrance will open onto an ample public lobby faced in natural stone. The lobby, in turn, gives onto corridors that will offer well defined, accessible circulation within public and private zones. The maximal use of windows throughout each floor will allow daylight into public areas, corridors, staff work areas and offices and provide views of Thunder Bay’s Sleeping Giant and other natural landmarks from upper floors.
Start of construction December 2010
Substantial completion Fall 2013
Project highlights Highlights of the Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse project include:
A new seven storey building (including mechanical penthouse) with space to accommodate 15 courtrooms including a Multiple Accused High Security courtroom and four conference/settlement
Barrier‐free design including public access to courtrooms, infrared hearing assistance and barrier‐free witness stand and jury box.
Enhanced accommodation for interpretation including one jury room permanently equipped for simultaneous interpretation and two portable interpretation booths.
A glazed atrium that will bring natural light deep into the building.
A commitment to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, including focus on energy efficiency, a high quality indoor environment through building material selections and green housekeeping practices.
Designed with capacity for expansion and internal flexibility to ensure maximum usefulness throughout its lifetime.
Upcoming construction activities for the period November 15 to December 30, 2011, include the following.
Underground drainage and methane extraction systems will becompleted.
The ramp into the basement level from Archibald Street will be formedand walls poured.
Pouring of concrete structural slabs in the basement and lower leveldecks will commence.
Masonry walls for partitions in the basement will commence.
Structural framing and metal decking will progress to level six of the building.
Foundation waterproofing will be completed and backfilling will commence.
Construction of elevator and stair shafts will continue to level seven.
Slab pours for the concrete decks will be completed to level five. Important Notice The last remaining steel piling work on the courthouse site will be completed beginning the week of November 21st. Piling will take place in the southeast corner of the site in the vicinity of Chapples Lanes and Brodie Street. This work will be of relatively short duration, lasting approximately three weeks