TasCAT is the newly created Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, housed at 38 Barrack Street Hobart.
Xsquared Architects designed the refurbishment of the building to enable 9 different tribunals to co-locate to the Barrack St premises last year – a particularly challenging feat at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The co-location was the first step in the establishment of TasCAT. By amalgamating the tribunals to commence operations as a single tribunal, TasCAT will streamline service delivery, providing alternative dispute resolution programs and greater consistency in decision making for clients.
Xsquared Architects Director Alex Newman and Project Services Manager Jason Wallom attended the formal launch of TasCAT on 5 November.
Malcolm Schyvens, the inaugural President of TasCAT, in a Talking Point in The Mercury on 8 November 2021 (page 15) stated:
Our approach will be less formal than the courts and tailored to meet the specific needs of those who appear before the tribunal, many of whom are in stressful circumstances and/or experience difficulty communicating their views. This philosophy extends to our state-of-the-art premises at 38 Barrack St, Hobart, which have been especially designed to meet the needs of the tribunal and our clients, and has drawn heavily on technology to improve our operations.
Central to making the premises feel less intimidating was the use of plants, colour, timber and soft furnishings to create a calming atmosphere. Support facilities include an adult change room and parenting room.
Each of the 19 rooms are private but need public access and this requirement had to work within the constraints of the unusually shaped existing building. Retrofitting this space required careful consideration of security, acoustics, wall design and changes to the mechanical plant. The technology requirements were significant to enable remote hearings.
Images by Natasha Mulhall