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Six Essential Spaces for Stress-free Jurors!

Posted by Alan Ruby on Jul 5, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, jury assembly area


By Alan Ruby, Senior Architect

A much greater number of people serve on juries than participate in the judicial system as plaintiffs, defendants, or attorneys. It is therefore vital that the jury assembly areas be as welcoming as possible. This blog addresses how an architect or courthouse planner can ensure that the jury assembly area provides the spaces needed to create a welcoming and user-friendly experience for prospective jurors.

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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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Can Courthouse Circulation be User-Friendly - Absolutely!

Posted by Alan Ruby on May 24, 2018

Topics: courthouse circulation, courthouse design


By Alan S. Ruby, Senior Architect

Just walking through a courthouse can be a stressful experience for a visitor. Whether being called as a witness or to serve on a jury, or just picking up documents from the clerk’s office, the serious nature of a courthouse can be intimidating. This article focuses on the steps that can be taken by architects and courthouse planners to ensure that public hallways create a welcoming positive impression for the visitor and are user-friendly.

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Are Your Jurors Comfortable Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

Posted by Kurt Schlauch on May 17, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, Courtroom Design, courthouse adjacencies

By Kurt Schlauch, Lead Consultant

What are the odds that two court planning consultants, each with over 20 years experience in the same small company, had NEVER been called for jury duty? Further, what are the odds that they both would be called to serve for the first time at the same small county courthouse within several months of each other? AND both be selected to sit on the jury?

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Creating a User-friendly Courthouse Lobby

Posted by Alan Ruby on May 3, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Security


By Alan S. Ruby, Senior Architect

The current public image of the courthouse is evolving from an imposing, awe-inspiring, and even intimidating symbol to one that is welcoming and user-friendly. I recently wrote about concepts that can be applied to the exterior of a courthouse to make it more welcoming. In my view, a welcoming lobby is an extension of a welcoming exterior. The main entrance lobby is the first interior courthouse space encountered by the public. This article explores some of the techniques used to create a user-friendly courthouse lobby that will likely enhance the visitor’s entire judicial experience.

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Courthouse Design Tips: Creating a User-friendly Exterior

Posted by Alan Ruby on Apr 19, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, Courthouse Aesthetics


By Alan S. Ruby, Senior Architect

My first experience with a courthouse was not good. In fact, it was terrifying and the memory has remained with me to this day. And it began on the courthouse steps before I walked through the front door. In my experience, the exterior image of a courthouse can range from an imposing and intimidating symbol such as the one I first experienced, to one that is welcoming and user-friendly. I believe this first impression can affect your entire judicial experience.

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Top 4 Reasons to Automate Your Court Design Guide Standards

Posted by Ron Seibel on Mar 8, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, Courthouse Processes and Planning


By Ron Seibel, IT Manager

Great news! Discussions are underway regarding finally building a new courthouse. It has taken years to get to this point. Now, to get started, the planning group needs estimates of the amount of space needed for each court component. “Can’t we just use the space we have now?” someone asks. “Well, no,” you say, because only one of the four clerk’s office filing windows has been used since e-filing became the norm. “Does anyone know where the current space standards are stored?” someone else asks. “I think the printed standards are in a binder in the clerk’s office…but that’s very old. I’m not sure where the updates or addendums are stored…if we have them at all.”

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The Building Blocks of Courthouse Organization

Posted by Alan Ruby on Mar 1, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, courthouse circulation, courthouse adjacencies


By Alan S. Ruby, Senior Architect

The design of every building is a puzzle. Courthouses are no exception. All the pieces need to fit in a way that make sense and that help guide us through the building. The building blocks of courthouse organization include which pieces are located on the ground floor versus upper floors. And which pieces need to, or in some cases shouldn’t be, located near one another (i.e., adjacencies). A well-organized courthouse has all the puzzle pieces in the right places, which enhances the delivery of justice.

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Pathways to Justice: Courthouse Circulation

Posted by Alan Ruby on Feb 15, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality


By Alan S. Ruby, Senior Architect

The role of a courthouse circulation system is both to connect courthouse components and to separate the movement of the public, judges, court personnel, and prisoners throughout the courthouse. This article provides guidance to architects and court managers regarding the functional objectives and design principles that can lead to an ideal courthouse circulation system.

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User–Friendliness as an Emerging Courthouse Design Trend

Posted by Keith Fentress on Feb 8, 2018

Topics: courthouse design, Courtroom Design, Courthouse Space Standards and Functionality, Courthouse Aesthetics

By Keith Fentress, Executive Consultant

In 2015, State of the State Courts survey respondents were asked: "How would you rate the job being done by courts in your state?" Surprisingly, the question revealed that only 48% of Americans are happy with their courthouse experience.

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