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Thinking About Courthouse Design: Access to Justice

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“Thinking About Designing Courthouses for Access to Justice,” posted on January 17, 2016
by Richard Zorza.

Courthouse construction is on the minds of all Oregonians. As long as the project managers, judges, courthouse employees, and other courthouse occupants and visitors don’t let the architects go all “let’s get an architecture prize!” on them, then taxpayers, judges, lawyers, and litigants may have a chance at getting the courthouses we need and want.

Courthouse design is a specialized field of study and experts read, practice, talk, build and learn to hone their craft.

If you’re getting a new or upgraded courthouse, even the “person on the street” will be consulted, either directly via surveys or indirectly when people “comment” on news stories about their local courthouses, but don’t forget that there are dozens of POVs (points of views) on exactly what the courthouse should look like or who it should serve over all others, so try to play nicely with others.

You can read a lot online about courthouse design, although you’ll also need to visit an architecture or engineering library to get the full picture – and talk and listen to the people who use, design, and furnish courthouses.