Wilson says the axial alignment of the principal spaces in the new and old buildings was a key factor in the design. As well as providing a common ground for both buildings, the alignment references the shared history of New Zealand and English law, and the goodwill settlement of treaty issues.
"The exterior bronze screen on the new building relates to the Victorian building in plan, elevation, modulation and rhythm," says Gregory. "The design of the screen, which was made from recycled scrap metal, was influenced by native pohutukawa trees the pohutukawa is a Maori symbol of strength, protection and longevity. The windblown form of these trees in the landscape is developed into a rhythmic pattern on the screen, which gives form, privacy, shelter and shading to the interior."
The new building stands on a dark basalt-clad plinth within a shallow reflecting pool. Beyond the entry, the courtroom itself is contained within a separate freestanding, copper-clad ovoid structure.
"Making the courtroom a separate structure and shape stresses the Supreme Court's independence and autonomy," says Gregory. "The processes and spaces are, however, visible and open to the public, making the court more accessible."
Both the exterior and interior of the courtroom incorporate natural, yet refined materials that will gather a patina as they age. While the exterior of the elliptical volume is clad in copper, the interior features 2294 panels of silver beech timber, with both smooth and articulated surfaces catering to the differing acoustic requirements.
"The panelling of the courtroom was influenced by the spiral pattern of a kauri cone, and the idea of such a seed being a link between the new and old legal systems in New Zealand," says Gregory. "The courtroom also features vertical folded walls of woven metal, copper and bronze, which reference traditional Maori woven tukutuku panels."
A library, administration areas and judges' chambers (level two) are positioned around the perimeter of the building, with a large void between these areas and the centrally placed courtroom. The interior design of these spaces was strongly influenced by the need for library and book storage there is 2.5km of shelving in the building. All walls of the upper circulation space are lined with bookshelves and the judges' chambers are also extensively fitted with built-in joinery.