The brick and stone justice center is the hub of the county’s new government campus. The building material choices were made not only to express the timeless, civic presence expected of a new government centerpiece, but also to relate comfortably to pedestrians and much smaller surrounding buildings. The front facade of the justice center clearly expresses the hierarchy of the spaces contained within. The entrance tower and cupola, which serve as the new orientation point for the surrounding government campus, tie directly into the central, two story courtroom and public waiting volume. These two elements draw inspiration from the detailing and proportion of the nearby historic courthouse, subtly reinforcing the relationship of the two buildings as they stand side by side on the new civic quad. As it steps down to one story, the building is punctuated on either side by porches that provide ramp access to the front entrance, allow natural light to flood the public hallways, and act to lighten the mass of the overall building facade.
Admitting daylight into the courtrooms and public spaces was a primary concern. By carefully articulating punched openings in the masonry walls, the interior is bathed in light, often allowing interior fixtures to be left off. The Circuit Courtroom is one of the few new courtrooms in the state to incorporate exterior window into the litigation space, giving this facility the tradition of a daylit courtroom within a new, state of the art building.
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