Utah Courts—Ogden Second District Juvenile Courthouse

Architect: VCBO Architecture

Location: Ogden, Utah

This efficient courthouse offers distinct design solutions for energy use, accessibility, and easy navigation throughout the building.


The project called for eight juvenile courtrooms, a mediation suite, probation offices, and group holding, as well as courtroom holding and court administration. The location was predetermined to be on a half-block site in a redevelopment area of downtown Ogden. The program and budget allocated 85,000 square feet for the facility, with parking requirements for 75 staff stalls and 150 public stalls.

A five-story configuration with two courtrooms on each of the upper four levels was selected to eliminate the need for multi-leveled parking structures, which preserved project funds for courthouse improvements. The two courtrooms per level also provide clear wayfinding within the building.

A variety of energy-use reduction strategies have been implemented, including a high-performing building envelope with continuous exterior insulation and an air/moisture barrier as well as an indirect/direct evaporative cooling system. These, in combination with efficient lighting, have resulted in a very efficient courthouse.

The floor elevation for staff areas was set at 18 inches, higher than public spaces, to eliminate the need for a ramp or elevator to the bench. This configuration reduces the presence of obtrusive ramps in the courtroom while preserving square footage; it also allows for an "integrated" solution to accessibility.

Jury comments

The public experience was one of the things that stood out on this project. Sightlines and interior finishes were noted, but the real appeal came from the way the public space seemed to slice through the building on courts floors, creating pleasing spaces filled with daylight.

Additional information

Interior Design: VCBO Architecture

Civil Engineering: Great Basin Engineering

Structural Engineering: Reaveley Engineers

Mechanical/ Plumbing Engineering: Colvin Engineering

Electrical Engineering: Spectrum Engineering

AV/IT: Spectrum Engineering


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

Second District Juvenile Courthouse

John Wang Photography

Second District Juvenile Courthouse

John Wang Photography

Second District Juvenile Courthouse

VCBO Architecture

Second District Juvenile Courthouse

John Wang Photography