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Durham Consolidated Courthouse
Oshawa/Durham Region, Ontario, Canada

Architect’s Statement

The Durham Consolidated Courthouse, located in Oshawa, Ontario, amalgamates Superior Court and Ontario Court justice services. The six-story, 451,620-square-foot building houses 33 courtrooms, three motion rooms, conference/settlement rooms, related support functions, detention facilities, and private parking for staff and judges. A prisoner holding facility with a sally port is located below grade. The typical courtroom floor has a simple plan that is legible and allows easy orientation. Visitors arrive at a single public entrance that gives access to a two-story entrance lobby. Courthouse Square acts as the entrance forecourt to the building. A highly transparent facade allows views into the building, engaging local citizens in the activities within.

The design was predicated on several key objectives: (1) efficient, secure, and functional plan—high-traffic functions are located at or close to grade, and secure and separate circulation systems have been provided for public, judges, staff, and prisoners ; (2) provision of daylight—to reduce stress for participants in courthouse proceedings, substantial daylight was provided not only to public waiting areas but also to jury deliberation rooms; (3) discreet vehicle access—access and egress for judges and prisoner vehicles was provided to the north so as to not be visible from either the main entrance or the three adjacent streets; (4) sustainability—the building is certified LEED® Gold NC; (5) flexibility/adaptability for future change—the third floor has been designed for future conversion; foundations have been designed to add an additional floor of office space; and (6) reinforcing the emerging urban framework—building massing responds to opportunities to create significant vistas, provide pedestrian scale, and align with the geometry of adjacent streets. A compact plan provides short walking distances for both prisoners and the judiciary staff. A scissor stair design allows for efficient exiting and the opportunity for separate evacuation stairs for prisoners and judges.

Photographer: Shai Gil


AccessJustice Durham


Type of Facility

Type of Construction


Site area



Area of Building
New/Renovated/Total GSF


New/Renovated/Total NAA


Construction Costs


Site development costs: $9,000,000
Building costs: $181,000,000

Total construction costs: $190,000,000

Project Delivery Type



Private financing

Status of Project

Completed 2009


Number of courts: 1

Type of courts: criminal/high security,civil,domestic,juvenile,hearings

Service population: 561,258



WZMH Architects


PCL Constructors Canada Inc.

Associate Architects/Interior Design
Canon Design

Structural Engineer
Halsall Associates

Mechanical Engineer

The Mitchell Partnership (TMP)

Electrical and Civil Engineer

Landscape Architect

Quinn Designs


Johnson Controls Ltd.


Shai Gil


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