Categorized | Featured Stories, Legal

Justice Center Architect: Building Will Be ‘Symbol’

By Matt Masich, STATE BILL COLORADO
DENVER — Fentress Architects recently won the bid to design the new Ralph L. Carr Justice Complex, which will house the state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, the offices of the state court administrator, attorney general, public defender and other legal agencies. State Bill Colorado asked firm principal Curtis Fentress and Bill Mosher, of project manager Trammell Crow, about the design process for the justice complex.

Q: The legislative and executive branches are symbolized by the State Capitol. Do you foresee the justice center being a similar symbol or icon of the third branch of government?
A: The new judicial center should be a memorable and easily identifiable architectural landmark that serves as an appropriate symbol of the rule of law and the courts as the third branch of state government.

Q: Will the current Supreme Court building be imploded?
A: The method of demolition has not yet been determined. The construction team anticipates salvaging and selective deconstruction in lieu of imploding. The existing building is currently being evaluated for possible reuse of certain components. The remaining materials will be recycled as part of the LEED certification process.

Q: What will happen to the mural that’s currently over the library at the Supreme Court?
A: The mural will be removed from the soffit area and may be turned over to the History Museum staff for their decision on appropriate placement or ongoing exhibition.

Q: How many architects and designers will be involved in the justice center project?
A: More than 100 people will participate on the design and engineering consultant team. As many as 20 designers at Fentress Architects will be involved during the project.

Q: Will there be enough parking for people who work in the justice center?
A: A parking facility for judicial center employees is planned for the site adjacent to the new Colorado History Museum building. Limited parking will be available.

Q: Civic Center is a vast expanse of grass. How much green space do you foresee having at the justice center?
A: The existing courts building has an open plaza, which is different than green space. The new courts will most likely be set back from the street edge for security purposes, providing an appropriate forecourt for pedestrian activity. The design team will work with state and city planning officials to appropriately respond to and support Civic Center Park.

Q: Who is to approve the Colorado Judicial Center design?
A: The design will ultimately be approved by the tenant’s executive committee with input from the steering committee and the program director. The executive committee is composed of representatives from the Colorado Supreme Court, the Colorado Court of appeals and the state court administrator’s office.

Q: Representatives from the attorney general and public defender’s offices weren’t on the selection committee. Will they have any input into the justice center design?
A: Representatives from the building’s tenants, including the attorney general and public defender’s offices, have been involved in programming activities and will continue to have input into the justice center design through the steering committee. The steering committee will report to the executive committee, which will provide formal direction to the design and construction team.

Q: The conceptual designs will be finished in January. At that point, what work will still be left to do until the absolute final designs are ready?
A: Schematic designs will be complete by late January. This is equivalent to 15 percent of the design being complete. Schematic design defines the basic parameters of building, which includes massing, materials and building systems. The design will be refined during the design development phase of design. Detailed instructions to the contractor will be incorporated in the construction document phase of design.

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