While working on the United States Courthouse projects, we forged relationships with not only clients, but with the various contractors and subconsultants who have worked on these projects. Interactions from department to department, security access between divisions, and communication requirements throughout the remodels were just a few of the challenges that needed to be determined during the design process. Negotiations between various parties proved to be the key for making each of these projects a success. Working with elected and nominated officials required diplomacy and the ability to honestly incorporate their desires to the overall layout for the betterment of the overall project.
The firm designed new and renovated existing judges’ chambers, courtrooms, library, and general office spaces. Because of the building’s floor-to-floor height, ingenuity was required of all team members to create spaces that aesthetically were pleasing, functional, yet met the objectives set forth in “The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.”
Because of the historical significance of the building, careful study of original drawings, specifications, and existing building elements ensured accurate replication of art deco details such as light fixtures, clocks, and trims. Materials and colors keep within the building’s historic context, yet give a spacious, open feeling and allow enough flexibility for each judge to personalize his chambers.
Security was always of utmost importance. In preparation for a well-publicized trial with many sympathizers, we modified a courtroom to accommodate 25 defendants and their attorneys, press, and public, in a way that showed no prejudice. During the planning with the U.S. Marshals Service, the of use magnetometers at the entrances to the building and courtroom was first used in a United States Courthouse.