Will County Courthouse
Architect: Wight & Company
Associated Architect: HOK
Location: Joliet, IL
Awarded a citation
A pivotal project in the rejuvenation of downtown Joliet, this new Justice Center replaces an existing courthouse with a modern and secure facility that engages the public with a welcoming landscaped plaza.
The new courthouse conveys the notion of “transparency in justice” through the generous use of glass in all public areas. Beginning with the entrance lobby and procession through all public interfacing destinations, access to daylight and respite areas were provided to mitigate the stressful nature of the justice experience. The building massing and organization communicates programmatic clarity and differentiation of public, private, and secure program components. Green roofs and terraces, accessible for juror’s breaks, extend the ground level landscape theme into upper level public areas.
The new facility accommodates 38 courtrooms serving criminal, civil, family, traffic, and special proceedings caseloads. The ten-story tower is composed of four court floor plates complete with judges’ chambers and jury deliberation suites. Disabled accessibility is integrated into the circulation corridors adhering to universal design principles. Court agency space accommodating outpost offices for the State’s Attorney, Adult Probation, Law Library, and Sheriff are located in the four-story wing, positioned perpendicular to the tower mass. At ground level, the light-filled public lobby with direct access to jury assembly, traffic court and the Circuit Court Clerk public service area is expressed as a temple to social equity and open access to justice.
"Contributes well to the future revitalization of the downtown district, setting up a good model for how to grow the downtown. Represents a good model of a user-friendly courthouse experience—orientation and wayfinding is simple and direct." ~ Jury comments
Drawing on the predominate material palette of historic downtown Joliet, the new courthouse interprets the timeless fabric of limestone, steel, and glass in a modern expression that evokes the innovative spirit associated with this pioneering industrial-age city.