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DCM wins over jury for Manchester law centre

Denton Corker Marshall has won the prestigious competition to design Manchester's new £50 million-plus Civil Justice Centre (above).The Australian practice beat off competition from Richard Rogers Partnership and Pringle Richards Sharratt (pictured opposite) in the final stages of a process being hailed as a new model for Public Private Partnerships (AJ 8.11.01). In the first arrangement of its kind, the Lord Chancellor's Department chose the three shortlisted practices independently of the developer and site. Each then received £50,000 to work with chosen developer Allied London to produce a scheme for a 30,000m 2site within the Spinningfields development, just outside the city centre.

Denton Corker Marshall's winning project is based on the model of a theatre. The 15-storey stacked building is divided vertically into three levels - a public domain which includes the foyer, waiting areas and conference spaces; the 'interface'or 'theatrical'domain containing court and adjudication rooms; and the third 'back of house'area for judicial staff.

Stephen Quinlan, director of Denton Corker Marshall's London office, said the building was designed to be 'simple and legible' but 'rich and complex in detail', and, at 80m, of sufficient scale not to be overpowered by future developments in the surrounding area.The project also involves the refurbishment of the neighbouring Crown Court in Crown Square.

CABE commissioner and advisor to the LDC Ian Ritchie praised Denton Corker Marshall's 'dramatic' building and its efficient use of the site. He said he was confident that the pioneering approach to the competition would ensure the completed building was of the highest quality and that he hoped to see the process applied elsewhere.'It puts the quality of the architecture at the same level as sites and finance, 'he said.

Denton Corker Marshall's latest success follows its competition win to design the new £35 million exhibition centre for Stonehenge, designs for which were revealed earlier this month (AJ 1/8.8.02).

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