Japanese practice Azusa Sekkei has been selected for the Newcastle Courthouse adaptive reuse in Australia. The project will become an international campus for the Tokyo-based Nihon University. The proposed facility will include the demolition of later modern additions to the courthouse that will be replaced by four story buildings. Designed with minimalist aesthetics, the project is made to follow the symmetry of the former courthouse while conserving the original structure for educational programs.
“The proposed design does not have a strong design expression in itself, so as not to fight with the Old Courthouse,” said the architects in a statement accompanying the development application. Respecting a 10-meter height limit, the project will integrate with the heritage-listed courthouse designed by colonial architect James Barnet. The proposed eastern building will include space for over 100 beds, and the western building will house education facilities.
Nihon University will conduct public lectures in the old courthouse on judicial and law matters. The programming and lectures will also extend to topics on Japanese cultural practices including tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and flower arranging. The new campus for Nihon will host an international language exchange program that will host students from Japan for one to two month stays to practice English on site. The new courthouse expansion project will be Nihon's first overseas campus.