Courts have been an integral part of a community since the development of the Forum in Roman cities. From local circuit courts and city halls to the Halls of Supreme Court, millions of Americans have utilized these facilities for civic, social and community involvement. Now in the modern era, how does a municipal courthouse continue to serve as the local identity of justice while ensuring a secure location for discourse and business?
As the preeminent symbol of authority in local communities, a municipal courthouse must express solemnity, stability, integrity, rigor, and fairness. Furthermore, the building must be the embodiment of the surrounding community’s history, religious and secular beliefs, and cultural differences. Many courthouses strive to contribute positively to the architectural fabric of the local community. Five basic principles should be addressed when designing a Municipal Courthouse:
1. Location to ensure maximum accessibility for the community
2. Clarity of design concept (address the needs for entrance and access for community, security, and staff)
3. A Focus on sustainable design principles to ensure an energy efficient building
4. Development of exterior security measures (use of design, Kawneer products, material selection, landscape, space planning and circulation to produce a fully secure site and building shell)
5. Overall design that is sympathetic of the surrounding community and existing architecture
The exterior design and materials of these centers is very important due to the need to serve as a vibrant and visually interesting flagship of the surrounding community. Modern finishes, safe and durable materials, cleanable surfaces and grandeur are the mainstays for these designs. Kawneer architectural aluminum building products are an ideal material to both meet the needs of the project and allow for the design of a creative and interesting space.
The competition asks students to investigate the use of Kawneer products in the creation of a secure municipal courthouse in one of five U.S. cities: Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; San Diego, CA; or Washington, DC (additional cities may be used with AIAS approval). The developed program directs students in general sizes and recommended design principals. Winning designs will be awarded $2500 for first place, $1500 for second place, $750 for third place, or $500 for each honorable mention (3).
For more information on the competition, to download the program or to register you or your team (teams may be up to four students) please visit the competition Web site at http://www.aias.org/kawneer.