Thomasville County Courthouse
This Judicial Center was constructed by a relatively small rural County, steeped in deeply embedded traditions. The existing turn of the century courthouse support spaces, along with State and Superior courtrooms, were proving to be inadequate and in need of technological improvement. Rather than mimic the iconography of the existing Courthouse, it was determined that the Judicial Center should, while also maintaining a strong “civic” presence, represent a product more representative of the time period in which it was constructed. It was important that the design of the new building not overshadow the symbolic and visual importance of the original structure. The new Judicial Center is sited on a direct diagonal from the existing Courthouse. It was decided to position the building tight to the street edge, with the intention that it would ultimately become an impetus for future buildings that will also choose to reinforce a more urban design character. The new Judicial Center takes the form of a narrow linear rectangle, allowing the building to provide a strong visual presence on the street as well as complement the centrally located “town square” position occupied by the existing Courthouse. The re-entrant corner of the new Judicial Center, which faces the existing building, acknowledges the importance of the original structure by metaphorically referencing a classical niche, while reinforcing the secondary symbolic role of the new judicial center. Corner windows on both floors allow a beautiful view of the existing courthouse. The street side of the building is the most transparent of the four major elevations and is intended to allow the building to be symbolically representative of a democratic government and its associated ideals. The openings are deeply recessed within a serial system of brick pilasters recalling traditional street arcades and loggias. Once inside, a sky lit communicating space, modeled in the manner of the top lighted noble spaces of Louis Kahn or Frank Lloyd Wright, greets visitors and functions as the building’s “gift to the community”. The intent, therefore, is that this Judicial Center plays a strong community role, within the security protocol mandated by its program and location.