Sligo Courthouse

Sligo Courthouse is a complex building of many dates. While the exterior presents a united and successful Gothic Revival elevation, several parts belong to older buildings incorporated into the fabric. It is memorable for a magnificent double-height entrance hallway with stone galleries and open work timber roof and the two best Victorian Court rooms in Ireland - now the Circuit and District Courts. The secure and very urban site with high perimeter walls created several external spaces. The brief was the conservation of the existing building using best practice and incorporating significant expansion to its capacity. The existing function was to be maintained, with the addition of two new courtrooms, improved circulation and increased office space. 

The architectural strategy was to respect the strong character of the original and propose delicate intervention work in certain areas. Most of this is practically invisible - service ducts and fire escapes, some corridors to create alternative routes for judge, jury, witnesses and accused, the insertion of lifts to provide disabled access to the building, and the creation of a new top-lit central staircase. The most significant changes were the repaving of the hidden courtyard as a new urban space for the town and the creation of a new Family Court suite in the derelict block behind it, which was made as a box within existing external walls, and marked by a double-height timber-panelled wall, seen through older windows.The repair of the existing building and the exposure of its patina gave valid figure ground for modern intervention.