Rio Architects

Designing for the law


The Justice Centre


Neath Port Talbot


Architecture, Interiors, Digital Construction, Visualisation

The Justice Centre for Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) in Port Talbot is home to an Informal Youth Court, Tribunal Courts, and a two-storey Central Fines Unit, spanning 24,000 ft² of space with a BREEAM “Excellent” rating.

The Justice Centre meets high design standards and played a pivotal role in shaping the new Harbourside Development Zone. It offers a fantastic working and visiting environment, adhering to HMCTS design guidelines while being flexible, adaptable, maintainable, and cost-effective.

The chosen materials pay homage to the area’s history, referencing the red brick and metal-based industries like creosote, copper, and tin. The use of durable brick aligns with the site’s heritage and produces an A+ rating in the Green Guide, contributing to the BREEAM Assessment.

By designing a building that prioritises natural daylighting, an efficient thermal envelope, with floor-to-ceiling glazing, BREEAM requirements were satisfied, supporting the Ministry of Justice’s Green Plan. We also ensured quality daylighting and views, resulting in regulated carbon emission levels of approximately 15.5 Kg CO2/m² per annum.

Despite challenges like acoustic issues from the nearby busy road and balancing security, views, and daylighting, the facility is highly resilient.

Inside, the building’s 13.5-meter-wide floorplate meets BCO standards with a 1,500mm planning grid, allowing for flexibility, open-plan and cellular solutions.

“Having responded to an OJEU notice from her majesties court services in relation to a design and financial bid our success in securing the project was in no small measure due to the design flair offered to us by Rio architects. Having given us the building blocks of an approved design concept Rio then delivered in terms of the completed building. This is borne out by the satisfaction of all those who now use the new Port Talbot justice centre.”

David Stacey

Deryn Properties LLP


BRE Court Buildings Winner 2011

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