COURT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
MANHATTAN FAMILY COURT
|Originally built in 1974, the Family Court building in downtown Manhattan was in dire need of renovation. The entrance had little direct light and the lobby configuration impeded the flow of traffic to courtrooms and offices, while the dark, foreboding structure was hardly a welcoming sight for families - especially children - in distress.
Photo: TED ERMANSONS
What's New? The courthouse has undergone a dramatic makeover, with a new, bright, cheerful
stone and glass facade and a new lobby. The work represented phase one of a two-phase
project and included roof repair and numerous upgrades on the ground floor, such as separate
entrances for staff and the public, a renovated and expanded lobby, new offices for
security, public restrooms, a newsstand and a children's center. A new infrastructure supports
these areas, including new HVAC, plumbing, lighting, fire protection and security systems.
The result: public spaces that are more user-friendly, light-filled and better suited to
accommodating and monitoring large numbers of visitors at one time. What was once a
cold monolith has been transformed into a welcoming presence for both staff and the public.
Phase two involves renovation of courtrooms and public spaces on the upper floors.
Photo: TED ERMANSONS
In 2002, the Art Commission of the City of New York presented one of its 20th Annual
Awards for Excellence in Design to the team that worked on the design for the facade renovation,
which included the architect, the Administrative Judge of the New York City Family Court,
and representatives of OCA, the New York State Dormitory Authority and several city agencies.
Architect: Mitchell Giurgola Architects, LLP
OCA Architect: Dave Patterson
ALBANY COUNTY JUDICIAL CENTER
|Albany County has opened its second new courthouse in less than a year - the Albany County Judicial Center. (The Albany County Family Courthouse opened in the spring. See "Benchmarks," vol.1, issue 1.)
Albany County Judicial Center
PHOTO: BBL CONSTRUCTION
What's New? The 80,000 square foot Judicial Center includes four courtrooms for the
County Court (which hears criminal cases) and court-support services, as well as space
for the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney. The new courthouse allows the
County Court to relocate from the Albany County Courthouse, relieving the overcrowding
in that historic building. The project included renovation of the historic Stedman
House, adjoining the courthouse, for use by the Public Defender's Office. The final
phase of the Albany County Court Master Plan, the renovation of the County Courthouse
(which houses Supreme Court), is underway.
Architect: Crandell Associates
PUTNAM COUNTY COURTHOUSE GROUNDBREAKING
Putnam County will finally have a new courthouse. Most of the court facilities have for many
years been crammed into the long, narrow County Office Building in Carmel. Visitors have
to sit on benches in the narrow hallways, for lack of waiting rooms, and there are no attorney/client conference rooms.
Artist's rendering of the
Putnam County Courthouse
ILLUSTRATION: PREISS/BREISSMEISTER P.C. ARCHITECTS
What's New? Ground has been broken for a new 50,000 square foot, four-story courthouse.
It will house four courtrooms (one for Supreme Court, one for Family Court and two for
County Court, all with waiting areas and conference rooms); a hearing room; a Commissioner
of Jurors and jury assembly facility to accommodate 70 to 85 persons; prisoner holding
facilities and a sallyport; a children's center; and ancillary agency offices. There is also space
for an additional courtroom in the basement.
Architect: Preiss/Breismeister P.C. Architects
OCA Architect: Ed Rodman
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