AECOM plans new Maryland courthouse
AECOM, in joint venture, is providing design services for the new 159,725-square foot District Court of Maryland. The new facility includes nine courtrooms for the district court and its agencies, plus detention facilities, the Office of the Public Defender and offices for the Maryland Department of General Services. The new courthouse maintains the importance of its site in the new town center plan by functioning as the visual southern terminus of Maryland Avenue, one of the gateways to central Rockville. Steps leading up to a plaza afford a proper sense of arrival to this civic building and provide a safe zone separated from a busy intersection.
The design is a strong, contemporary form with an identifiable, civic-scaled entry. Building materials were selected in consideration of their solemnity and durability. The monolithic stone form embraces a multi-story window, which helps define the building’s public zone. The use of glass orients approaching users and, once inside, provides the visual connection back to the city. Similarly, when exiting the courtrooms, visitors are faced with a window to Rockville that offers a view into the soft northern light. Separating the three major building zones with vertical slices of glazing reduces the mass of the building.
The first level functions include entry, reception, security, and queuing and holding. This level also accommodates detention facilities, the commissioners’ suite and state administration offices. The second level houses court administrative functions, while the third level is occupied almost entirely by the Office of the Public Defender. The build-out places three typical courtrooms and the slightly larger traffic court on the fourth level; three courtrooms and two hearing rooms on fifth level; and two courtrooms, two hearing rooms and a multipurpose room on the sixth levels. Levels three through six have identical floor plans with prisoner service cores for re-configuration of up to 16 courtrooms.