Supreme Court – Wellington NZ

The sculptural presence of the staircases in the Supreme Court building is reinforced by the Glasshape® bent toughened glass walls and balustrading.

Architectural innovation is always dependent on being able to source appropriate skills, technology and materials. For the Supreme Court project, the architect’s vision of semi-transparent, sculptural staircases was realised by the use of bent toughened glass from Glasshape®.

Architect Roy Wilson of Warren & Mahoney says the freedom of design provided by the bent glass is a key benefit, but it is not the only attraction.

“Architects always like to specify curved rather than facetted glass, and being able to source such glass locally is a real bonus.”

Glasshape® has invested in technology that enables it to produce very large panels of bent toughened glass – up to 3.9m (12ft) high by 2.44m (8ft) around the girth, being the largest panels available in New Zealand, which has many benefits for clients who no longer have to source such panels from overseas suppliers. It means there is a much shorter lead time, for example, and there are sustainable benefits from sourcing the glass locally.

Product used in this project.

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Glasshape® provided bent toughened glass for the main courtroom in the Supreme Court building, and 15mm (5/8″) toughened (tempered) glass – rated Grade A for safety – for the gallery upstand, gates and balustrading.

All the glass was also manufactured for a precise fit – there were very low tolerances and each staircase had a particularly tight radius. Working to a tight timeframe provided an additional challenge. The glass was the very last thing to go into the building, but Glasshape was able to deliver on time and within budget.

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