The architecture and fitting out of the new Supreme Court building was savaged in an article in The Times on Saturday by Marcus Binney, the President of SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

Mr Binney plainly does not like to restoration work undertaken to what was the Middlesex Guildhall.  He starts by saying that in future,”‘supreme’ should stand for the total emasculation of a historic building’s character, the gratuitous removal of fine fittings designed and made for it, and, in this case, the neutering of the Guildhall’s robust masculinity in favour of a bland, executive lounge look, with the rejection of shiploads of fine craftsmanship in favour of a select number of token artworks”.

Warming to his theme, he claims that the Court’s symbolism is “schoolboy stuff”, states that the bookcases “could have been bought at Ikea” and describes the library as “a hole with clunkily detailed fittings”.  He says that the new new bespoke furniture “is an even greater puzzle” and that the “woodwork looks like Formica veneer and the high-backed armchairs are slightly refined versions of executive-class airline seats”.

Mr Binney states that the Ministry of Justice provided a breakdown for the oft-stated capital cost of £58.9m for the building.  Apparently, £36.7m was paid to Kier Group (there is a leaseback arrangement with rental payments of £2.1m per annum increasing to £2.5m a year over 30 years) and set-up costs (provision of library, visitor facilities etc) were £20.2m.