New State Courts Complex, Singapore


The Singapore State Courts includes the construction of two new 150m high towers and the renovation of the existing Octagon courts building in collaboration with Serie Architects.

One of the towers accommodates 60 criminal courtrooms while the other houses the judges’ chambers and supporting functions. The existing octagon courts building, built in the 1970s, will be refurbished and will house the civil, family and juvenile courts.

The relationship between the city and its civic buildings was the primary interest for the project with the new courts complex building symbolically open and accessible to the public.

The courtroom tower is therefore designed as an open frame supporting a series of shared terraces on which the courtrooms are placed. It has no external facade. In a metaphorical sense, this represents the openness and impartiality of the judicial process. The new towers are then linked by a series of foot bridges that enable the controlled circulation necessary for the courtroom process.

Outdoor terraces feature high rise gardens and are designed to allow views across the city thereby reinforcing the civic role of the building. The gardens will also play an important role in filtering tropical sun.

Taking the language drawn from the city, the courtrooms are clad in ribbed terracotta which reflects the colours of the tiled roofs in the adjacent historic Chinatown shop-houses which can be readily understood by all Singaporeans.

The project won via an open design competition jury was lead by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie. In a joint statement, the judges praised the ‘simple but dignified’ design which ‘complements the conserved octagon without trying to outshine it.’


Building Type: Civic & Institution 
Location: 1 Havelock Square, Singapore 
Site Area:
Gross Floor Area: 110,000sqm
Status: Completed 2019
Photography credits: Finbarr Fallon