Franklin County Courthouse

Franklin County, Pennsylvania is rich with history and culture; its vibrant county seat of Chambersburg is presently bustling with growth.  This, in turn, has instigated a necessary expansion of spatial requirements for county court operations.  The historic 1860’s courthouse is the centerpiece of the eclectic storefronts throughout the downtown and is situated on the expansive main public square with turn-about.  Silling has been working with local county officials to create an addition beholding to the existing courthouse (with previous additions) while creating an architectural showpiece of the present era.

The new 130,000 gsf judicial center includes administrative office departments for the Clerk of Courts, Public Defender, Juvenile Probation, Adult Probation, and the District Attorney.  The upper levels include courtrooms of varying sizes and supporting judges’ chambers and admin spaces.  The subterranean sallyport with central holding offers isolated secure elevator transport of detainees to intermediate holding cells between the court sets.  Below grade protected judges’ parking provides access to secure vertical circulation paths to the chambers above.  The existing courthouse (with additions) has been partially reprogrammed to support a portion of the aforementioned departments.  A subtle and unobtrusive pedestrian bridge softly engages the former structure to intermingle all court activities.

The high volume entry lobby is strategically placed biaxially with the historic courthouse to further bow in formal significance, yet houses the single point of entry for queuing and screening.  The approach to the welcoming entry portico is served by a grand stair and a subtractive treatment of the colonnade opposite the infilled lobby condition.  This extends the rhythm of the courthouse’s vertical fenestration and provides a covered portico leading to the largely accepting glass storefront entry doors.  The massive footprint is broken down by sections of neo-traditional brick character reflections infilled with fully transparent modern hyphens.  This assists in complimenting the contextual storefront proportions with a systematic rhythmic character on the main street elevation.  Silling has enjoyed the opportunity to delicately blend the formula and achieve a highly integral solution to serve the residents of Franklin County for many years to come.

Silling Architects is serving as a national justice designer and courthouse architect for the new Franklin County Courthouse, while locally-based Noelker & Hull will be the architect of record for all non-courts related renovations.


Franklin County Board of Commissioners


Chambersburg, PA


130,000 gsf


Interior Renovations, New Construction


Community, Justice