Judge Seymour Gelber and Judge William E. Gladstone Miami-Dade Children's Courthouse

Architects: HOK and Perez & Perez Architects Planners

Location: Miami, Florida

This LEED Gold-certified courthouse, built with local materials and techniques, provides essential services for children and families in flexible, visually inviting spaces.

The Miami-Dade Children’s Court is a landmark building, combining juvenile and family courts in a non-traditional and welcoming environment. Designed to minimize stress for children and families, the 14-story building includes 18 courtrooms and 16 supporting agencies, making it easy to access numerous key services in one central location.

The building is thoughtfully designed to enable an effective justice process for all participants. Agile courtrooms and related technology accommodate multiple case types and requirements, while colocation of staff and judiciary allows for collaborative team work. Five floors are designated as flexible space, readily accommodating changing departmental and partner organization needs. Three floors offer children and families stress-reducing centralized storefront locations for support agencies. High-volume public traffic spaces are conveniently located on lower floors for ease of community access. Visually inviting and easy to navigate, these spaces engage participants while evoking the civic importance and openness of the justice process.

Sustainability is integral throughout the building, with an emphasis on passive siting and façade strategies to mitigate tropical sun and weather. Local materials and techniques have also been extensively used for financial sustainability.

Artwork is a key feature throughout public areas, evoking the spirit and energy of children, families and community. This approach is mirrored in the courthouse’s main civic façade, with its confetti of vibrant colored glass windows casting playful sunlit patterns into public areas inside.

Close to a key government precinct and major public transit hub, the entire site has been designed for civic use. A new courthouse plaza extends the character of an adjacent park onto the site and is designed for all to enjoy. The building’s exterior character juxtaposes judicial composure with animated cadence; a fitting portrait of both justice and the children and families being served.

Jury comments

Many members of the jury responded to the playfulness and placement of materials, as well as the canted wall that provides additional space for public waiting areas.

Additional information

Structural Engineer: Bliss & Nyitray, Inc.

Mechanical Engineer: SDM Consulting Engineers, Inc.

Electrical Engineer: TLC Engineering for Architecture, Inc.

Civil Engineer: EAC Consulting, Inc.

Landscape Architecture: Curtis + Rogers Design Studio Inc.

Cost Estimating: Faithful + Gould


2016 Justice Facilities Review Jury

Mark Ryan, AIA (Chair), Mark Ryan Studio, Phoenix, Arizona

Patti Rhee, AIA, Ehrlich Architects, Culver City, California

Kathy Griffin, St. Joseph County, Centreville, Michigan

Dan Rowe, AIA, Treanor Architects, Kansas City, Missouri

Joe Waters, Johnson County Manager's Office, Olathe, Kansas

Brian Meade, AIA, Dewberry, Elgin, Illinois

Chief Larry Rodriguez, Tolleson Police Department, Tolleson, Arizona

Image credits

Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse

Robin Hill Photography

Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse


Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse

Robin Hill Photography

Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse

Robin Hill Photography