The Renfrew County Courthouse

Two deferential wings are set back on either side of the restored courthouse, reinforcing its prominence along the main street. The entry leads into a two-storey atrium which wraps the original courthouse, exposing the previously concealed jail, and presenting these weathered stone buildings in contrast to the contemporary materials and detailing of the new space. Where possible, the original spaces, such as the restored heritage courtroom, maintain their initial purposes. Others are given new lives: cells are reused as interview rooms; the registry building is reused as a law library, and its front façade becomes an artifact displayed within the two-storey lawyer’s lounge. The interplay of old and new elements embodies not only the weight of history and precedent attached to Ontario’s judicial system but also the concept of law as a living entity—something that has evolved over centuries, a reflection of the values of the society it serves and governs.

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