Project > Medway County & Family Court

Medway County & Family Court

DB3 was entrusted with the task of providing design support to Paragon Tilbury Douglas for the refurbishment and change of use of the award winning, Grade II Listed Gun Wharf Building. This historical structure was selected as the new home for the Medway County and Family Court. The challenge was to strike a balance between preserving the building’s unique heritage and meeting the demands of the contemporary audience. DB3 embraced this challenge and, through collaboration with conservation architects, engineers, and designers, embarked on the journey of transforming the Gun Wharf Building into a modern court facility while paying homage to its historical significance.

Merging Tradition and Innovation

Merging Tradition and Innovation

DB3 adopted a strategic approach that seamlessly integrated the existing structural grid and incorporated materials from the original building. This decision was made to ensure that the court design not only met functional requirements but also respected and complemented the aesthetics of the historic structure. Rather than replicating the original features, the use of these materials allowed the court to be seen as a distinct addition within the listed building. Throughout our work, we prioritised preserving the architectural integrity of the building, ensuring that the fabric and integrated design elements of the RIBA Award-winning structure were unharmed.

The newly designed court and office space now features a meticulously planned reception area, complete with a security search station. In addition, the space includes six hearing rooms, consultation areas, and comfortable office accommodations. To enhance the overall experience, amenities such as tea points, public waiting areas, and dedicated spaces for advocates, agency staff, prayer, contemplation, and well-being have been thoughtfully incorporated into the design. These additions ensure that the court not only fulfils its functional requirements but also provides a welcoming and supportive environment for all who utilise it.

Sustainability at the Core

Sustainability at the Core

Guided by the Court and Tribunal Design Guide and driven by a strong sense of environmental responsibility, our team embarked on a mission to achieve a “Very Good” rating under the BREEAM UK – Refurbishment and Fit-out 2014 scheme. In order to achieve this, we created an energy-efficient design by utilising BIM Level 2 and following the guidelines set by PAS1192-2. This allowed us to facilitate precise information exchange and deliver COBie asset data in compliance with BS1192-4.

Innovative measures were implemented to ensure exceptional sound control throughout the project. Bespoke acoustic junction details were carefully crafted, including a suspended cube design for the services bulkheads positioned at the centre of the concrete ceiling pyramid. Additionally, acoustic plasterboard boxing was skillfully integrated within the existing tartan grid column structure. The courtrooms received special attention, with the introduction of expertly designed timber joinery for judges’ benches, fixed furniture, and acoustic wall panelling. These enhancements not only optimise sound quality but also add to the visual appeal of the spaces.

Overcoming Challenges, Surpassing Expectations

Overcoming Challenges, Surpassing Expectations

Historic refurbishment projects often come with inherent challenges, and the Gun Wharf Building project was no exception. Our team encountered complexities during the implementation of RIBA Stages 3 and 4, with planning conditions and strict regulations to navigate. However, through collaboration with Conservation and Planning Officers and the expertise of our in-house CA Conservation Architect, we successfully overcame these hurdles.

“The new court building has excellent, modern facilities for judges, magistrates, staff and court users and thus represents a great improvement on its predecessor.”

The Right Honourable Lord Burnett of Maldon

Client Name: Ministry of Justice

Project Value: £4.9m

Date Completed: November 2022

Project Location: Medway, Kent

Delivery Architect: DB3 Group

RIBA Stages: 3-6

General Contractor: Paragon Tilbury Douglas


DB3 Conservation & Heritage

DB3 Conservation & Heritage

Our experienced multi-disciplinary teams deliver specialist advice to clients on the strategic planning, renewal, regeneration, management and conservation of historic buildings, heritage sites and monuments.

View our Sector Brochures

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll be in touch shortly.