Our Services are directed to improving existing court facilities on the site; expanding them there or in other locations; and developing concepts for new facilities. We respond to the historical, symbolic, and commercial importance of existing facilities and sites while providing functional adequacy for the operations of court and related agencies. Here is a typical project scenario:

We start by determining facility needs for each current court and caseload type by assessing the adequacy of:

  • the quantity and type of each existing space,
  • the area of each existing and potential additional space,
  • accessibility and security provisions,
  • and accommodations.

These assessments are based on our experience in analyzing, planning, programming, renovating, and designing court facilities since 1971 and in preparing and using court space standards and guidelines (including Space Management and the Courts, The Image of Justice, and other generally accepted guides).

From this baseline expansion needs are then forecast for as long as twenty years ahead, based on caseload and other correlating factors, including anticipated population growth, foreseeable changes in court procedures and laws, and other demographics. The effects of court technology on facility needs also are forecast, in relation to operational and space-use effectiveness. But most importantly we will define benchmarks in time, points in the dynamic lifetimes of facilities when choices can best be made about methods for making future changes and expansions.

A time-phased program of facility needs is then prepared for later use by design architects; it tabulates area, environmental, locational, and quantity needs for all spaces. Space types are illustrated by sketch plans, conceptual plans or schematics of all courtrooms are prepared, and the accessibility of all spaces is illustrated. Security will not be compromised; we will consider grouping criminal and civil courts separately, if feasible, to simplify and reduce the costs of security.

Finally, blocking and massing studies are developed to analyze how spaces can best be assigned to buildings, both existing and new. The important visual features of sites will be studied to judge how future facility needs can be met. Given the results of this analysis, we will analyze parking, traffic, and site impacts and present the results in conceptual drawings and narrative analysis.

We also offer facility audits—concise but complete studies of your needs which develop action plans to help you meet them.