Delaware County Courthouse
Delaware County, Ohio is the fastest growing county in the state of Ohio with a population set to exceed 200,000 by 2018 (population 67,000 in 1990). This explosive growth, in addition to similarly increasing court caseloads and the recent addition of a new Domestic Relations Court Judge, necessitated the design and construction of a new courthouse on the county seat’s judicial campus exclusively for county court operations. The new 160,000 square foot courthouse includes administrative office departments for the Clerk of Courts, Adult Court Services, and the Common Pleas Court. The upper levels include three large courtrooms and six hearing rooms with supporting judges’ chambers, jury deliberation and administrative spaces. The third floor accommodates a grand jury room, as well as jury queuing and assembly spaces. A below grade parking garage supports protected judges’ and staff parking as well and provides access to secure vertical circulation paths to the floors above. The garage also houses an inboard sallyport with central holding that offers isolated secure elevator transport of detainees to intermediate holding cells between the court sets. A secondary staff entry at grade graciously connects the neighboring county administration building inhabitants to secure staff circulation cores within the new courthouse.
Through in-depth reviews with the local historic preservation committee and zoning commissions, the design concept responds with an elegantly meshed contextual nod to the Italianate fabric of historic Delaware while stepping into a modernized composition of progressive materials and forms on the exterior. The North Sandusky Street elevation marries the storefronts of the historic downtown to the neighboring Hayes building in a transitional zone abutting the less dense and beautifully ornate array of houses in the residential district. The main entry appropriately resides opposite the street front toward an inviting plaza directly off the much-used public parking lots serving the judicial campus. Entry and circulation is clearly articulated on this elevation by an open and vast lobby for queuing and screening immediately adjacent to the public stair and elevator core. Upon arrival to the court floors, a large expansive curtain wall wraps the building expressing public circulation while exuding the transparency of the court system and spilling daylight into the unnerving environment of trial participation.
Delaware County Board of Supervisors