As the winner of a design-build competition, +VG Architects designed a POA Courthouse for the City of Burlington that was reflective of the landscape of Halton Region.

The north portion of the building is made of limestone to represent the escarpment to the north, and the south glass portion is meant to represent Lake Ontario south of the city. The landscape is further reflected within the use of repurposed telephone poles around the glass portion of the building.

While effectively giving the building an institutional feel, they are also reminiscent of the forestry of the region before urbanization and agriculture developed. The glass is highly reflective in hopes that it will almost double the look of the poles, to reinforce the environmental aspects of the region within the design. Deliverables included:

  • Landscaping that was also in connection to the agrarian path. It is meant to look somewhat like an orchard or farm field, with linear organization and spatial definition. The natural environment is echoed in the design through the selection of landscape materials; tree species were selected to reflect the Carolinian typology of the region.
  • Enhancements to courthouse functionality and barrier-free accessibility. Among these enhancements were the size and configuration of washrooms and holding cells for barrier-free accessibility. We included a barrier-free courthouse on the ground floor level along with a related barrier-free retiring room for a Justice of the Peace.
  • The glass section, facing south, contains all the staff office areas and justice retiring rooms. The people working in these areas benefit from the abundance of natural light provided by the glass wall. The stone section, facing north, contains the police and security functions of the Courthouse as well as access to the Justice of the Peace secure parking garage, the Sally Port and incoming service rooms.
  • Products and materials chosen were low maintenance and provide long-term durability. As an example, we chose to use a porcelain ceramic tile throughout the public lobby and washroom areas for these reasons. The colour scheme we chose is primarily natural, neutral colours warmed with traditional colour accents, intended to emphasize the calm and dignified proceedings that characterize the courthouse functions.

Burlington, Ontario




34,000 ft²


New Construction




David Lasker