Madera County Courthouse
Architect: AC Martin
Location: Madera, Caliornia
Designed to create a 'town square' with an existing park and courthouse, the 111,0000-square-foot building welcomes in the public and offers a visible transition from the informal to formal areas.
This new $100 million, 111,0000-square-foot Madera County Courthouse has been designed to demonstrate the transparency and dignity of democracy and provide a place to facilitate the workings of the American ideals of justice. It has been positioned to work with the existing Historic Courthouse and Courthouse Park and create a ‘town square.’
Oriented toward true north, the monumental public façade reveals itself toward the park and the greater downtown area. The transparency in the design of the north-facing elevation welcomes the public and provides a visual connectivity from the outside to the inside. There is a procession and hierarchy in the design of the public flow, transitioning from the informal to the formal experience.
The courthouse is a four-story, steel-framed structure featuring 10 courtrooms and 10 judicial chambers with clerical support; administration, jury services; traffic, civil, family, juvenile and criminal divisions; prisoner holding and subterranean parking for judges and key courts personnel; and in-custody vehicle accommodations for the County Sheriff and California Department of Corrections. The design conveys the image of a courthouse while reflecting the dignity of the public in an approachable way.
The courthouse has also received LEED Silver certification.
The jury spent quite a bit of time discussing the perceived civic/judicial expression of this project and its response of colliding forms and materials. In the end we were interested in the translation from the big idea and its distillation through details.