Victorian Courts Urban Design Guidelines

Civic buildings play a key role in city-shaping and are important in creating a sense of identity, pride and belonging for the local community. Like many civic buildings, court buildings have a prominent position in our society and in our towns and cities.

Frederiksburg Courthouse in Denmark, designed by 3XN. Arcaid Images from Alamy Stock Photo.

Urban design principles should therefore be focused on delivering design excellence to provide exemplary buildings that reflects the gravitas of our legal system, are distinct and enhance the overall image of a town or city, respond to the specific local context, and are designed to respond to the diverse needs of people who will use or interact with the building. Good urban design outcomes ensure that a court building relates well to its local context, enhances the image and identity of a place, and optimises the experiences of all people who use or interact with the building.

Court Services Victoria, having Identified the importance of urban design considerations in the delivery of new court assets, sought urban design principles to support its Infrastructure Design Framework reference toolkit. Through design research focused on reviewing existing national and international design guidelines for courthouses and contemporary trends in courthouse design, Hodyl & Co identified the core design requirements and aspirational design elements necessary to deliver design excellence. These findings were synthesised into clear and defensive urban design guidelines suitable for a wide audience.

Excerpt from the Victorian Court Services Urban Design Guidelines.

Hodyl & Co have developed urban design principles for courthouses that can be applied across a range of urban settings, project scales, and across the project life cycle. These design principles will guide positive urban design outcomes for future developments through each stage of development. These principles are addressed across five themes concentrated on the relationship of the building to its overall setting, and include: symbolism, approach & entrances, site layout, functionality, and positive edges.

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Hoddle Grid Retail Streets Design Research

Victorian Creative Neighbourhoods Report

Victoria is an international leader in the arts and creative industries and is celebrated for its plethora of creative neighbourhoods, each of which make their own unique contribution to the state’s creative eco-system. Creative Victoria supports creative industries in a myriad of ways and this support is guided by their overarching strategy – Creative State, the Victorian creative industries strategy. This strategy is currently being refreshed and is to be informed by our research into the affordability of creative spaces in Victoria. Access to secure, affordable and appropriate creative spaces is critical to the long-term sustainability of creative industries in Victoria.

There is a growing understanding of the enormous contribution that the arts and creative sector make to community health and wellbeing, social resilience and the economy. The creative sector is under pressure, particularly in inner Melbourne as property prices increase and creative spaces are displaced as areas gentrify. State Government and Local Government are increasingly committed to reversing that trend as the value of creative industries to the community become more broadly understood.

Our work will focus on the analysis of creative neighbourhoods - neighbourhoods in which there is significant clustering of creative spaces. This approach recognises the importance of place-based solutions that are designed with a consideration and understanding of the community networks that lead to the establishment of creative clusters. The affordability of these neighbourhoods will then be analysed, both in terms of residential and commercial affordability.

This place-specific analysis will lead to clear recommendations on appropriate interventions to support the affordability of creative spaces at a local level. These will be informed by an assessment of international case studies that support best-practice interventions into supporting the ongoing affordability of creative spaces.

The outcomes of this work will enhance our understanding of creative neighbourhoods by focusing on their place specific qualities and the local challenges that they face. The recommendations will be focused on generating supportive conditions that allow creative neighbourhoods to flourish in the long-term.

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Moreland Arts Infrastructure Plan

Greater Geelong Arts and Cultural Map

East Preston Creative Strategy and Plan