Surrey Courthouse Addition

Architect: NORR Architects and Engineers

Associated Architect: Ratio Architectural Interior Design and Planning Inc.

Location: Surrey, BC, Canada

Awarded a publish

The Surrey Courthouse was constructed in 1991 evolving into one of the busiest courthouses in Canada. Its growing case load required additional courtrooms to meet demand.

The program required three new courtrooms including one high security courtroom, one initial appearance room, four settlement conference rooms, 11 holding cells, five interview rooms, seven judicial chambers, in custody consulting cubicles along with related connections to the existing public, private and secure circulation systems. This expansion needed to be done in a manner that did not interfere with ongoing operation of the existing facilities while at the same time connecting into them in a logical manner.

"The sectional development is unique, particularly the integration of daylighting into the courtroom. The material development is handsome and well handled, as is the integration of energy strategies. " ~Jury Comment

The solution is a new wing located at the southeastern corner of the existing building, at the end of the various circulation systems in a prominent position at the top of a hill overlooking Surrey and Mount Hood in the distance.  The overall massing of the new addition consists of two interlocking volumes; a three story glass volume wrapping over a two story concrete mass.  The concrete volume contains the courtrooms and the back of house prisoner holding areas. It is an extension of the material vocabulary of the exiting Brutalist building communicating qualities associated with security and the enduring solidity and power of the judicial system.

The glass volume which contains the multi-story public circulation and waiting areas as well as top floor of settlement rooms and judicial chambers wraps over the inner concrete volume and speaks to a more transparent welcoming and understandable system that is accessible to all members of society. Douglas fir entry portals lead into wood and concrete lined courtrooms where natural light filters in from the adjacent atrium. External terracotta solar screens accentuate the atrium on the exterior and protect it from summer sun.

Additional information

Acoustics: RWDI

Associate Architect: Ratio Architecture Inc.

Civil Engineering: ISL

Electrical Engineering: Applied Engineering Solutions

Elevator: Apex Elevator Consulting

Engineering & Land Services Security, Communications, Voice & Data: Aspyr

Fire & Building Code: LMDG

General Contractor: Yellowridge Construction Ltd.

Landscaping Consultant: NORR Architects, Planners Inc.

Mechanical Engineering: AME Group Ltd

Sound/Audio, Video for Courtrooms: MC Squared System Design Group

Structural Engineering: Fast and Epp Consultants


Mallory Scott Cusenbery, AIA (Chair), RossDrulisCusenbery, Sonoma, California

Hon. Celeste F. Bremer, United States District Court | Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

Michael Cox, AIA, Wold Architects and Engineers, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Julian Jaffary, B.Arch, OAA, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thomas Pulaski, Prince William County Police Department, Woodbridge, Virginia

Arthur Thompson, AIA, SMRT, Portland, Maine

Charles W. Wend, Mount Vernon, Washington

Image credits


NORR limited


NORR limited


NORR limited


NORR limited


NORR limited