The new courthouse conveys the notion of “transparency in justice” through the generous use of glass in all public areas. Beginning with the entrance lobby and procession through all public interfacing destinations, access to daylight and respite areas were provided to mitigate the stressful nature of the justice experience. The building massing and organization communicates programmatic clarity and differentiation of public, private, and secure program components. Green roofs and terraces, accessible for juror’s breaks, extend the ground level landscape theme into upper-level public areas.

The new 369,000 GSF facility accommodates 38 courtrooms serving criminal, civil, family, traffic, and special proceedings caseloads. The ten-story tower is composed of four court floor plates complete with judges’ chambers and jury deliberation suites. Disabled accessibility is integrated into the circulation corridors adhering to universal design principles. Court agency space accommodating outpost offices for the State’s Attorney, Adult Probation, Law Library, and Sheriff are located in the four-story wing, positioned perpendicular to the tower mass. At ground level, the light-filled public lobby with direct access to jury assembly, traffic court and the Circuit Court Clerk public service area is expressed as a temple to social equity and open access to justice.

Civic Will County Courthouse 32
Civic Will County Courthouse 7

The building aims to be approachable and give an impression of transparency and accessibility of the judicial system to the public.

Award:

2018 Justice Facilities Review – Citation (Highest Honor), AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice