East County Hall of Justice

Architect: Fentress Architects

Associated Architect: KMD Architects

Location: Dublin, CA

Awarded a publish

The East County Hall of Justice marks the completion of a nearly 20-year process to provide much needed courtroom facilities to the growing population in eastern Alameda County, the seventh largest county in California.


Completed under unique funding and project delivery agreement terms among the county, the state and the superior court, the 209,432-square-foot justice center facilitates efficiency in services for all case types and significantly improves the public's access to justice in the highly populated region.

"The favorite part of the design is the courtroom waiting area with generous hallways, places to have quasi-confidential conversations (seating nooks), uses the building to provide the public amenities. ~ Jury comments

Massing and materials were selected to blend harmoniously with the surrounding hills and landscape. The building's three major functions: a courthouse for the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda; a judicial office building for the County of Alameda; and a shared entry/screening facility-are individually expressed in a modern, energy-efficient form. A dramatic glass curtainwall façade evokes openness and transparency while serving as a welcoming expression of the rule of law. Central to the building, a large interior light well penetrates all levels, flooding natural daylight into every courtroom and most occupied spaces. High-performance glass with exterior sunshades works to maximize daylight while minimizing solar heat gain.

In the five-story courthouse, separate circulation paths for the public, staff, and in-custody secure holding for defendants, ensures separated security and privacy for all occupants. High-functioning operations-traffic court, arraignments, jury assembly, and clerks-are placed on the main level, allowing for easy public access and minimizing impacts to vertical transportation. Fungible design, utilized for the standard jury trial courtrooms, provides the court flexibility to accommodate criminal, family, and civil proceedings.  Connected by the common entry lobby, the two-story office building provides space for the public defender, district attorney, and the probation department. The single point of entry centralizes screening and increases the level of security for all building occupants.

Additional information

Acoustical: D.L. Adams Associates

Architect of Record: Fentress Architects

Code: Jensen Hughes

Design Architect: KMD Architects

Elevator: HKA Elevator Consulting, Inc.

Engineer - Civil: BKF Engineers

Engineer - Electrical: The Engineering Enterprise

Engineer - Mechanical: Frank M Booth

Engineer - Structural: The KPA Group

General Contractor: Hensel Phelps

Landscape Architect: Keller Mitchell & Co.

Physical Security: John W. Geyer

Sustainability: DNV GL


Mallory Scott Cusenbery, AIA (Chair), RossDrulisCusenbery, Sonoma, California

Hon. Celeste F. Bremer, United States District Court | Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

Michael Cox, AIA, Wold Architects and Engineers, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Julian Jaffary, B.Arch, OAA, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thomas Pulaski, Prince William County Police Department, Woodbridge, Virginia

Arthur Thompson, AIA, SMRT, Portland, Maine

Charles W. Wend, Mount Vernon, Washington

Image credits

East County Hall of Justice 01-MOC

Michael O'Callahan

East County Hall of Justice 02-MOC

Michael O'Callahan

East County Hall of Justice 03-MOC

Michael O'Callahan

East County Hall of Justice 04-MOC

Michael O'Callahan

East County Hall of Justice 05-MOC

Michael O'Callahan