News releases

04/2016 - News release

"Where Modern Justice Lives": Supreme Court architecture exhibition opens

08 Nov 2016

Modern Supreme Court buildings across the world are in the spotlight this winter, as a new temporary exhibition opens at the UK Supreme Court in central London.

Where Modern Justice Lives

Contemporary architectural designs, photos and models from countries including South Africa, the Netherlands, Singapore and Albania go on show today at the UK's top appeal court.

Visitors will have the chance to see how leading international architectural practices have tackled the brief set for them by senior judges around the world in the 20th and 21st centuries.

They will also be encouraged to reflect on the role that court buildings have in supporting public confidence in democracy and the rule of law. For instance, the material on the Constitutional Court of South Africa quotes Nelson Mandela, opening the South African Constitutional Court in 1995: "The last time I appeared in court was to hear whether or not I was going to be sentenced to death...Today I rise, not as an accused, but on behalf of the people of South Africa, to inaugurate a court ...on which hinges the future of our democracy."

The display is the second in a rolling programme of special exhibitions curated by the Supreme Court Arts Trust, an independent charity established in 2015 to promote understanding of legal institutions through art installations and other educative projects.

Admission is free, and the exhibition is open to the public from 9.30am to 4.30pm Mondays to Fridays until 16 December 2016.

Architect Elsie Owusu OBE, a trustee of the Supreme Court Arts Trust, lead designer and curator of the exhibition, said: "Seeing such diverse ways of handling the complex challenge of Court architecture is inspiring. This exhibition gives remarkable insights into collaborations between judges, architects, interior designers and artists to create places and spaces which are secure and comfortable, and functional and accessible to the public".

Sir Anthony Salz, Chair of the Supreme Court Arts Trust, said: "We hope the exhibition will encourage visitors to think about how the built environment of courts helps reflect, promote and influence the work that goes on inside them - as well as shine a spotlight on the exciting work being undertaken in this area by architects around the world."

The architectural practices which generously provided exhibition material, on a pro bono basis, include: Foster + Partners (Singapore Supreme Court); Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg); Janina Masojada, Andrew Makin and Paul Wygers (South Africa Constitutional Court); KAAN Architecten (Netherlands Supreme Court); Grimshaw Architects (Palace of Justice, Tirana); and Studio Sadar+Vuga (Supreme Court of Albania).

UKSC contacts:

Ben Wilson - Head of Communications
020 7960 1887

Cheryl Walmsley - Communications & Outreach Manager
020 7960 1886