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Hays County Government Center, San Marcos County, United States

Tuesday 03 Jul 2012

Corporate meets governance..

© HDR Architecture, Inc. 
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Award Entry

Courts and county business coexist in a new, flexible facility 

Since the greenfield site provided little existing built context, one challenge for this new county centre was to create a 'sense of place' and a strong civic presence. These are provided by a formally xeriscaped entrance plaza, and a modern classical esthetic, with an entry portico and transparent lobby wall celebrating the main building entrance.

The visitor enters a towering rotunda space linking the two-story government office bar to the three-storey courthouse block. These convey the Center's dual role as a courthouse and a county business centre; versatile and user-friendly, able to accommodate multiple after-hours events, while still maintaining security. High-quality interior finishes include terrazzo floors at public spaces, limestone cladding in the rotunda and wood millwork in the courtrooms.

The new Government Center provides approximately 12,405 sq m / 230,400 sq ft of functional, flexible space. The multi-purpose building initially includes 10 courtrooms, along with ample space for other county departments such as Tax Assessor, District Attorney, Treasurer, County Clerk, District Clerk, Elections and Information Services. 

In this rapidly growing county, the facility design provides opportunities to easily add court spaces and other departmental space, without rearranging infrastructure. Space for the District Clerk could be converted to two additional courtrooms, and all of the courtrooms are flexible to handle various types of court proceedings. Space has been left at the ends of the Court portion of the building to construct additions as necessary. Probation offices are located at ground level, easily accessible after hours, for evening and weekend programs sponsored by these departments.

In the courtrooms, access to different levels - the jury box, witness box, clerk's and judge's bench - is by a system of ramps and space is provided for future wheelchair lifts, if necessary for judges, along with disabled spectator seating. Courtrooms have a speech reinforcement audio system.

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 42.5(m€)
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