RTN N D PA ITH A M S , M E SHA
E9 S A C H OW
TY N U O C D R O TER F R E H RUT CIAL CENR F R E E S B O R O JUDI N T I C A L LY M U GR
Rutherford County Judicial Center LOCATION
AU T H E N T I C A L LY MURFREESBORO
C L IENT
Rutherford County Public Building Authority SERVIC ES
Architecture Interior Design Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineering Structural Engineering Environmental Graphics and Wayfinding
GRESHAM, SMITH AND PARTNERS
RU TH ERFO RD C O U NT Y J U D I C IA L C E NTE R
utherford County is among the fastest-growing regions in Middle Tennessee. The rapid rise in population compelled the county to consider options for expanding its existing 35-year-old judicial center in downtown Murfreesboro. After determining that new construction would offer the best opportunity for future flexibility, Rutherford County Public Building Authority solicited GS&P to design the new Rutherford County Judicial Center (RCJC). “The main issue with the existing judicial building is sheer volume,” explains project coordinator Adam Nicholson. “On any given weekday, you’ll see a steady stream of people lining up to get into the old courthouse. There’s only one door in and one door out, one magnetometer in security, and one elevator. So major congestion is an issue before you even enter the building.”
“The existing facility is also extremely compromised in terms of the way its design approaches safety, security and the separation of certain populations,” adds senior architect and principal Jeff Kuhnhenn. “This new judicial center will provide a far greater level of security not only for the general public, but for the people who are working within the building as well as the defendants.” To be situated just three blocks north of Murfreesboro’s historic downtown Square, the new Rutherford County Judicial Center will consist of a 215,000-square-foot, sixstory building programmed to house up to 16 courtrooms. The facility will also include an off-site, four-level “The main issue with the parking garage with 366 existing judicial building is spaces on two adjacent sheer volume. On any given sites on Maple Street, a prominent city artery.
weekday, you'll see a steady
stream of people lining up to get into the old courthouse.” ADAM NICHOLSON, PROJECT COORDINATOR
The fenestration and materiality of the building embrace themes present in significant local projects. Rhythmic patterns, vertical emphasis, traditional proportions and a clear articulation of base, middle and top are created through contrasting materials of brick and precast architectural concrete. Repetitive pillars and arched details at street-level establish a direct link to the architectural fabric present in the downtown Square.
An initial visioning session established priorities for the project that were used to inform and evaluate processes as well as guide decision-making throughout the design.
RU TH ERFO RD C O U NT Y J U D I C IA L C E NTE R
A COLLABORATIVE DESIGN PROCESS From the outset of the planning phase, GS&P engaged the county’s Design Review Committee composed of various stakeholders, including the Clerk and Master, judges and the program manager, as well as representatives from the Chancery Court, the County Clerk’s Office, the Office of Information Technology, and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. “The Design Review Committee was an essential part of the overall development and design,” says Kuhnhenn. “We engaged early on with all the key stakeholders in a process for benchmarking other facilities and developing a vision for “We engaged early on with the new building. That process created a all the key stakeholders in a common language for everyone involved, process for benchmarking so as we moved into the actual design, we all understood one another.” other facilities and developing Priorities established during the a vision for the new building.” initial visioning session were then summarized in a series of guiding principles. JEFF KUHNHENN, At the top of the list was the provision SENIOR ARCHITECT, PRINCIPAL of a safe facility for both visitors and employees. Also key was a functional and efficient building design. To accommodate the facility’s necessary functions, the design team evaluated a number of options for pairing courtrooms and stacking floors. After assessing two-court, four-court and six-court pairing schemes, a four-court configuration that stacked the building six-floors high was ultimately agreed upon.
The interior vaulted ceiling extends the central form of the exterior and embraces a traditional color present in the domed ceiling of the nearby City Hall.
“Given our previous experience designing the Justice A.A. Birch Building in Nashville, which is a courthouse of similar size, we had an understanding of how the three main populations needed to move separately throughout the building,” says Nicholson. “You have the public, the defendants, and the judges and jurors. These lines of circulation must not meet until all parties reach the courtroom. Our design made sure these groups entered and moved separately through the building.” ...we had an understanding Visitors enter the building of how the three main through a single point of security from the entrance plaza. Judges populations needed access separate, restricted eleto move separately vators in the basement level. Jurors are also escorted to this throughout the building. restricted area for access to the deliberation rooms. Defendants are separated from the other populations by entering the facility one level below grade, and are directed into a secured-vehicle sally port. From there, they are escorted to a central The two-story volume and vaulted ceilings holding facility until called for their within the lobby are a continuation of the arched details of the exterior. court appearance.
AN EMPHASIS ON THE COMMUNITY Along with creating a functional and efficient facility, GS&P focused on the building’s role as a civic landmark, creating a design that balanced operative necessities with details such as public outdoor spaces that will contribute BUILDING’S ROLE AS A CIVIC to Murfreesboro’s distinctive urban fabric. LANDMARK, CREATING A “This building is extremely sensitive to its particular location in a way that’s very special to Murfreesboro,” says DESIGN THAT BALANCED Kuhnhenn. “We championed the idea that the new facility OPERATIVE NECESSITIES must embrace its surroundings and add to what is unique about downtown Murfreesboro from a civic point of view.” “We engaged the public in each step of the design PUBLIC OUTDOOR SPACES process and let them tell us how THAT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO the building needed to fit into the community,” adds Nicholson. “We asked, we listened, and then translated that feedback into a building that is DISTINCTIVE URBAN FABRIC. authentically Murfreesboro.” Creating a new civic presence, the judicial center’s highest point is an iconic cupola that pays homage to the historic pre-Civil War courthouse near “This building became a careful downtown Murfreesboro’s Civic Plaza. exercise in finding the right The fenestration and choice of exterior materials, including red brick and mixture of timeless design and precast concrete, were also inspired forward-looking design.” by themes in local architecture.
GS&P FOCUSED ON THE
WITH DETAILS SUCH AS
STEVE JOHNSON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE + URBAN DESIGN
“This building became a careful exercise in finding Moving from the public plaza inside to the security the right mixture of timeless design and forward-looking area, a vaulted ceiling extends the central form of the design,” says Steve Johnson, executive exterior and embraces a traditional vice president of GS&P's Corporate color found in the domed ceiling + Urban Design market. “I believe of the nearby City Hall. Clerestory our design solution does a good job We engaged the public in each step windows provide ample daylight in walking that fine line between of the design process and let them and accentuate the transition from the two, and creating a balance of security into a double-height central tell us how the building needed to architecture that will fit in and be lobby accented by vaulted ceilings fit into the community. We asked, respectful of the past.” and red-brick masonry piers that also Softening the pedestrian trancomplement the building’s exterior we listened, and then translated sition into the new building, an aesthetic. Reducing the load on public entrance pavilion embedded with that feedback into a building that is elevators, a monumental stair links the lobby to the high-volume courta terraced public plaza will serve authentically Murfreesboro. as a counterpoint to the Civic Plaza rooms and clerks’ offices on the first at the southern end of Maple Street. two floors. The landscaped area will link the “We incorporated high ceilings, entrances of the Rutherford County Drug Court and the an elevated finish palette, and a center judge’s bench to new judicial center. convey a sense of dignity in the courtrooms, which is the “We envision a wide range of events for the new only space within the building where officials, defendants plaza, including public gatherings, ceremonies, and even and the public will meet,” says senior architect Tim DeBuse. daily lunches served by food trucks,” notes architect “Although the details within the space are simplified to Emil J. Mastandrea. align with the exterior architecture, the more traditional “The streetscaping around the building offers spaces woodwork and symmetry honor the original courthouse.” Murfreesboro doesn’t currently have in its downtown core,” adds Nicholson. “Tensions in court can run high, so we’ve provided places of comfort and relief—a well-landscaped park setting for lunch or breaks. As the area grows, others will also convene in this space.”
Increased glazing on the south elevation permits an abundance of natural light into the space at all times of day. Placing the public corridors along this facade facilitates a connection to the downtown area and offers a stunning vista of the surrounding landscape. Framed views of the cupola atop the historic courthouse reinforce the connection between the new judicial center and its predecessor.
THE DESIGN TEAM PLACED A
RU TH ERFO RD C O U NT Y J U D I C IA L C E NTE R
Each sequence leading to the judicial center is defined by a layering of landscaping, building assemblies and spaces. The trellis surrounding the entrance pavilion provides shelter for visitors during peak hours. Arched details, present at various scales throughout the project, extend a tradition that has come to define the character of Murfreesboro.
PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON INCORPORATING FISCAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS THAT WILL RESULT IN LONG-TERM VALUE TO
BOTH THE CLIENT AND THE COMMUNITY.
BUILT FOR LONGEVITY
Along with benefiting the public “A big part of the sustainability component involved the engineering through the building’s safety, aesthetic of the building,” adds Nicholson. “We looked at what was going to and cultural components, the design matter 50 years from now, and operational costs were an important team placed a particular emphasis piece of the puzzle. To better understand the performance of the on incorporating fiscal and environbuilding envelope, we developed an energy model early in the mental solutions that will result in process. It helped us determine the types of budgetary decisions we long-term value to both the client could make, such as how to properly size our mechanical equipment. and the community. This assessment translated into a low operational cost and high “This is the public’s money and efficiency for the owner.” it’s also a building that’s intended In terms of long-term viability, the facility will open with 10 to have a very long active courtrooms, which will eventually expand to 16 courtrooms with a fourth-floor buildout. life span. So we had to take a lot “That’s the difference between a building that ...we recognized the need of different things might be obsolete in 20 years versus one that can to design a building that into consideration,” last another 50 years,” says Nicholson. explains Kuhnhenn. has strong, flexible and “What might be functional bones that support inexpensive in the short term could the kind of things that need actually turn out to to change over time... be costly in the long run. For instance, AV technology used in the courtrooms changes rapidly. So we recognized the need to design GS&P designed a full-scale mock-up of the a building that has strong, flexible proposed courtroom. This allowed the team to and functional bones that support receive invaluable feedback from the client the kind of things that need to and various end users, including judges and change over time.” attorneys who used the existing courthouse.
RUTHERFORD COUNTY JUDICIAL CENTER
Slated for occupancy by June 2018, the new Rutherford “We are going to be extremely proud of this building,” County Judicial Center serves as a catalyst for growth and notes Rutherford County Mayor Ernest G. Burgess. “I am development within the city’s urban core, while setting a very pleased with GS&P’s professional, competent and precedent for projects of a larger scale experienced approach to the project. in the historic downtown area. Their contribution to the success of our The new courthouse is “Public safety, the administration of new judicial center is immeasurable.” justice, and the building as a symbol of positioned to not only support good government are all vital aspects the historic Square, but also of this project. I’m proud of how our team approached each of these and extend and enhance the responded with appropriate solutions,” center of economic activity in concludes Johnson. “The new courthouse is positioned to not only support downtown Murfreesboro. the historic Square, but also extend and enhance the center of economic activity in downtown Murfreesboro.”
The RCJC serves as a bookend and counterpoint to Civic Plaza formed by the public library and City Hall at the termination of Maple Street. Its presence reinforces the central position and importance of the historic courthouse centered within the downtown Square.
TE A M
PIC Steven P. Johnson, aia, ncarb PD Jeffrey W. Kuhnhenn, aia, leed ap PM Timothy J. DeBuse, aia, ncarb, leed ga PP Emil J. Mastandrea III, aia, leed ap PP Kelly M. Cathey, aia PC Adam Nicholson ID Afton Mooney, iida, leed ap id+c
LINEBAUGH PUBLIC LIBRARY Jim Alderman, segd Brett Anderson Tisha Bandish Lauren Boehms Bill Butler
Deron McIntosh, p.e.
E. Michele McMinn, iida, leed ap id+c, edac
Tracey Curray Jim Daniel Joyce Ferguson Randall E. Gibson, p.e. Brandon M. Harvey, associate aia, cdt
competent and experienced approach to the project. Their contribution to the success of our new judicial center is immeasurable.
ERNEST G. BURGESS, RUTHERFORD COUNTY MAYOR
Elaine McDowall Ann McGee, aia, ncarb, leed ap
I am very pleased with GS&P’s professional,
William C. Mays
John D. Brew, p.e.
p.e., leed ap
David V. McMullin, p.e., leed ap Louis Medcalf, fcsi, ccs Mary Mohsin Jong Park Jimmy Perrin Kristen Prevost
Brian Hubbard, aia
Mary Raccuglia, ncidq
Tim A. Rucker, segd
Andrew M. Stoebner, p.e.
Douglas E. Karaszewski,
Bryan A. Tharpe, p.e.
Melissa Long, eit
Don Dwore, Courthouse Architect Consultant
.GRE S WWW
HA M S
M/S TH . C O