Mark Trier, FAIA,
Nelson County Judicial Center | Bardstown, Kentucky
Situated in the heart of one of the Commonwealth’s most historic counties, JRA’s newly designed Nelson County Judicial Center honors the rich past of the Bardstown region while meeting the current and future needs of an ever-expanding community. JRA fused its institutional knowledge of civic buildings, acquired over the years while creating judicial centers and courthouses, and its insight-gleaning process to reach the established objectives for success.
Inspired by plantations that once dotted the surrounding countryside, the building rises gracefully out of a rolling, meticulously landscaped environment, and is perched along a tree-lined boulevard. The ten-acre site, previously cluttered with the remains of an abandoned strip mall, is now the green hub of a bustling and rapidly growing area of the community. To create an environmentally responsible facility, we utilized a geothermal heating and cooling system for the justice center. The wellfield is located beneath a parking area adjacent to the building, allowing any maintenance or future expansion to be accommodated with virtually no impact to the building itself.
The interior is a carefully crafted blend of warmth and elegance with its sweeping cherry-wood grand staircase and sky-lit cupola. Natural light floods the central rotunda, providing occupants with a clear point of reference from all public spaces. The wood-trimmed courtrooms are wired for full digital access and feature custom-engineered podiums for projection needs, and all courtrooms are designed to easily adapt to technology systems of the future. Modern security and technology systems are incorporated discretely throughout the facility.
Today the Nelson County Judicial Center is a free-standing structure consisting of approximately 50,000 square feet of programmed area, ready-made and sized to serve the needs of Bardstown and the surrounding communities well into the 22nd century.