City of West Minster Courts
The City of Westminster Courts is among London’s oldest. With the old courtrooms being demolished to make way for a new five-storey state-of-the-art building, with 10 new magistrates’ courtrooms featuring secure docks, Clifford Tee and Gale approached Planet Partitioning to assist with a design and specification, to include standard and bespoke glazed screens to meet a range of performance and acoustic criteria.
The courtrooms were on the first and second floors, each entered via a ‘sound lobby’ – a transition area between the waiting areas and the courtrooms – each to accommodate up to eight people at a time. The glass on either side of the sound lobbies had to achieve a very high acoustic performance (60dB Rw), a very high impact rating, and a fire rating of EI60.
Planet Partitioning also designed stainless steel balustrades to allow visitors on the first and second floors to look down safely through the central light well to the foyer on the ground floor.
In the waiting areas, windows look directly into the back of the courtrooms. Planet Partitioning installed switchable glass, so that when a court is in session the glass becomes frosted, so those in the waiting room can’t see directly into the courtroom.
In each courtroom, a glass dock, designed and installed by Planet Partitioning, is anti-reflective. This means the judge and the jury can see defendants – and their body language – clearly at all times. The dock glass and door are made of Optiwhite toughened glass, which has low iron content and is extra-clear.
This project involved a significant design stage, with Planet working closely with Clifford Tee and Gale and Laing O’Rourke. All the glass used had to meet location specific performance parameters and had to be manufactured in Europe.
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