Southwest Juvenile Justice Center
Superior Court of California
The courthouse sits on a low hill along with a five-story main courthouse. It attaches to a juvenile detention facility. It houses delinquency and dependency courtrooms with separate holding areas, court operations and administration space, children’s waiting area, judicial chambers and support space.
The design team took considerable care to develop a fiscally responsible material palette and design aesthetic that met the judiciary’s request for a strong presence that reads as a courthouse. The result is an understated classicism that is distinctly civic while remaining within budget and fits appropriately into the larger judicial campus.
The project plan satisfies the conflicting needs of providing separate and independent in-custody transfers—through a secure pathway directly connected to the juvenile detention facility—and a separate sally port and holding area for the vehicular transfer of adult in-custodies from the on-campus jail. Each holding area has independent and direct connection to the courtrooms it serves.
Design and coordination workshops with judges, clerks, court administrators, probation and sheriff department representatives, and facility maintenance personnel throughout all phases vetted the needs of each group. The developing design incorporated this feedback.
TSK used visualization techniques like handcrafted physical 3D models, full-size material samples and computer-generated models in the workshops to help user groups understand proposed solutions. The team performed real-time on-screen manipulation of 3D computer models in front of a client audience to update proposed designs for immediate feedback. This proved beneficial for judges to understand sightline conditions at the bench through animated perspectives at each station of the bench—judge, witness and clerk. The team configured in real time the heights and lengths of bench casework to the judges’ satisfaction.