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Blog

Matt Hemphill

During Matt’s career, he has been involved in many successful projects and facility types, such as courthouses, land ports of entry, hospitals, outpatient medical office buildings, assisted living facilities, and general office space for large corporations. Matt enjoys music and running, and likes to cook.

Recent Posts

Beyond Architecture: Courthouse History, Community, and People

Posted by Matt Hemphill on Jun 14, 2018

Topics: courthouse design

By Matt Hemphill, Senior Architect

We have all been absorbed at one time or another by the drama that takes place inside a courthouse. “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Perry Mason”, “LA Law,” and countless other popular movies and television programs allow us a glimpse into the inner workings of a courthouse. Real-life courtroom drama – from local news to national spectacles like the OJ Simpson trial – have captivated audiences far and wide. Serious business goes on inside a courthouse, and we all know that. However, as a court planning consultant, I have been fortunate to gain an understanding of courthouses that goes beyond the courtroom walls. Apart from the architecture, a courthouse is an exciting place to be. When I enter a courthouse, I get an immediate sense that something critical is going on in the building and I want to be a part of it. But why? What makes me (and so many of us, it seems) fascinated by these special places? I can think of a few things that do it for me…

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The Architect and the Court Planning Consultant: A Match Made in Heaven

Posted by Matt Hemphill on Jan 4, 2018

Topics: Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courtroom Design

 

By Matt Hemphill, Senior Architect

I was once part of a courthouse planning team for a new courthouse. When we sat down to interview the short list of architecture firms, the first firm brought in a court planning consultant as part of their team. We were all impressed. They walked out the door and the next architecture firm came in. To my surprise, the same court planning consultant that had been on the first team re-entered the room with the second team! This continued throughout the day…the same court planning consultant had teamed with five of the seven or so firms we interviewed! From this experience two things became immediately apparent: 1) There are not many court planning consultants; and 2) The architecture firms recognized how important the role of a court planning consultant is when it comes to designing a courthouse. For architecture firms seeking to add courthouse projects to their portfolio, teaming up with a qualified court planning consultant, one that combines a mix of skill sets that includes both analysis and architecture, can be a perfect fit.

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Nobody Puts Judge in a Corner (Bench)… Or Do They?

Posted by Matt Hemphill on Oct 5, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality

 

 

By Matt Hemphill, Senior Architect

In my experience as a courtroom planning consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to plan for many types and styles of courtrooms. While there are many different issues regarding courtroom designincluding sightlines, furniture options, and access requirementsthe focus of this blog will be on the core element of the courtroom: the location of the judge's bench. Whether you are constructing a new courthouse or renovating within existing space, the location of the judge’s bench is one of the first things to consider when designing the courtroom. The placement of all other components within the courtroom depends on the placement of the judge’s bench. And in the vast majority of cases, a center bench is ideal. But when space is limited or irregularly shaped, a corner bench may be a better option.

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Courtroom Mock-Up: Key to Unlocking Successful Design

Posted by Matt Hemphill on Jul 13, 2017

Topics: Courthouse Processes and Planning, Courthouse Renovation/Construction/Economics, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Technology

 

By Matt Hemphill, Senior Architect

If you are designing a new courthouse or renovating existing space, seriously consider budgeting time and money for the construction of a courtroom mock-up. I realize that not every courtroom project can have a full-scale model, and many computer programs allow for walk-through animation. However, nothing compares to the feeling of walking through a space and experiencing it. It can save taxpayers money in the long run and will lead to better communication between the design team, general contractor, and end-users.

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