The new Madera Courthouse was designed to demonstrate the transparency and dignity of democracy, providing a place to facilitate the workings of the American ideals of justice. It has been positioned on the site to work with the existing Historic Courthouse and Courthouse Park creating a "town square." Oriented towards true north, the monumental public façade reveals itself towards the Park and the greater Downtown area. The transparency in the design of the north-facing elevation welcomes the public and provides a visual connectivity from the outside to the inside. There is a procession and hierarchy in the design of the public flow, transitioning from the informal to the formal experience.
The four-story, steel-framed structure features ten courtrooms and ten judicial chambers with clerical support; administration and jury services; traffic, civil, family, juvenile and criminal divisions; prisoner holding and subterranean parking for judges and key courts personnel; and in-custody vehicle accommodations for the County Sheriff and California Department of Corrections. The design conveys the image of a courthouse, while reflecting the dignity of the public in an approachable way.
The design is guided by the General Principles of the California Trial Court Facilites Standards: Design Excellence, Sustainable Design, Physical Durability and Functional Usefulness, and Accessibility.
The selection and design of materials for the Madera Courthouse is inspired by the Yosemite Valley. Stone modules are clad with locally sourced Sierra White granite. Ice and water influenced the design of the atrium with geometric angles and a skin of ultra-clear glass. Wood is used responsibly and detailed beautifully in the public spaces.
- 2012 Award of Citation, Unbuilt Category
- AIA San Joaquin Chapter
- 2012 Chicago Athenaeum Finalist
- American Architecture Awards