Manchester Civil Justice Centre / Denton Corker Marshall

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

Architect: Denton Corker Marshall
Location: Manchester,
Project Instigator: Her Majesty’s Court Service
Tenant: Ministry of Justice (North West)
Developer: Allied London Properties
Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease
Engineers: Mott MacDonald
Project area: 34,000 sqm
Project year: 2008
Photographs: Tim Griffith

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

An international competition-winning design for the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice in the North West of England, the biggest court complex to be built in the UK since the Royal Courts of Justice in the 19th century.

The building provides accommodation of around 34,000 sqm on 15 levels. It houses 47 courtrooms, 75 consultation rooms, in addition to office and support space.

From the exterior, it signals and literally displays the accessibility of the courts. This building is part of the city, and the city part of the building.

exploted elements axo
exploded elements axo

The working courts and offices are expressed as long rectilinear forms, articulated at each floor level, and projecting at each end of the building as a varied composition of solid and void. In side elevation, these elements collectively establish a dynamic and distinctive building profile; in end elevation, they form a powerful sculptural interplay of light and shade, depth and complexity. The architectural implication is that the courts are not forbidding or concealed, but open and accessible.

The judicial interface is seen as the principal city scale signal of the Civil Justice Centre. The eastern facade will become the memorable ‘sign’ that clearly establishes this as the courts building and unlike any other building in the city.

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

Manchester Civil Justice Centre employs advanced environmentally sensitive design principals, such as solar screening and natural ventilation systems, making it a beacon for sustainable design. It has achieved a BREEAM rating of excellent.

The project has been the subject of numerous architectural awards including the Royal Institute of British Architects National Award for Architecture and the RIBA Sustainability Award.

Cite: "Manchester Civil Justice Centre / Denton Corker Marshall" 25 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • designdummy blogger

    simple but rock

  • Nick

    How do they make the floors of the glass boxes so thin???

  • Nick

    The floors are probably hanging on the ceiling, I guess

  • dwi wahyono

    Perfect Drawing 3D Design to Building

  • Felipe Goes

    I like it. Very audacious.

  • Chas

    the thin floors are an illusion. if you look at the photo’s you’ll see that the floors are pulled away from the glass. so the true floor thickness (including structure, mechanical, etc) is hidden within the interior geometry the glass can flow freely past giving it that thin appearance.

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  • Nick

    It’s pulled pack a lot than, 1 meter or so

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