Wight & Company’s vision for a new courthouse in Chicago’s suburbs has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects’ Academy of Architecture for Justice. The design for the Will County Courthouse is one of 15 recipients nationally of the 2018 Justice Facilities Review (JFR) awards program, and one of only four to receive a Citation, the highest honor. The annual JFR program recognizes “the best in justice facility design,” depicting “the latest trends in the design and construction of justice facilities in the United States.”

This pivotal project, currently under construction, will replace an aging courthouse in Joliet with a 369,000-square-foot building that includes a 10-story tower. Kevin Havens, executive vice president and director of design at Wight & Company, describes his team’s design solution: “We are creating a contemporary and architecturally captivating building that will serve as a catalyst for Joliet’s downtown development, as well as a symbol of civic pride.” JFR jurors agreed, noting that the design “contributes well to the future revitalization of the downtown district, setting up a good model for how to grow the downtown.”

According to Havens, the new courthouse will “convey the notion of transparency in justice” through the generous use of glass in all public areas. The courthouse will include 38 modern courtrooms when it is completed in 2020. A light-filled public lobby on the ground level will provide direct access to jury assembly, traffic court and the Circuit Court Clerk public service area. Jurors cited the design as “a good model of a user-friendly courthouse experience.”

“Wight & Company brings a team of professionals who understand the needs of Will County,” said Jim Moustis, Will County Board Speaker. “They designed a courthouse that was within our budget, will be safe and efficient for our employees and residents, and is now an award-winning building that our taxpayers can be proud of for generations to come.”

The winning projects will be published in AIA’s Justice Facility Review and will be honored at the AIA/AAJ Fall Conference in November. HOK is serving as consulting architect for courts design on the $215 million project. Gilbane Building Company is serving as construction manager.