Montezuma County Combined Courts
Awarded a published
The concept of the 33,000 SF Montezuma County Courthouse takes its clues from Mesa Verde and the surrounding agrarian context. A Kiva element near the main public entry defines the entry plaza and functions as a public community room when not in use as a jury assembly room. Slot windows within the Kiva element are placed to frame views of the significant mountain peaks from the center point of the Kiva. The overall sheltered form of the main building is symbolic of the crevice in the Mesa Verde mountainside while also recalling the simple shed like structures found within this agricultural community of 26,140 people.
The courthouse building is elongated along an east/west oriented axis to maximize passive strategies and provide views to the Ute Mountain range and the San Juan Mountains. This orientation also allows for an axial alignment with Mount Wilson: a revered natural icon. The significant overhang on the south facade shades the clerestory from direct summer sun, allowing for daylight to penetrate the lobby and the courtrooms beyond. The solidity of massing and repetition of punched openings in the wall below the overhang are derivative of the exterior aesthetic of the dwellings within Mesa Verde, where narrow vertically oriented apertures provide security and controlled daylight.
" Simple program and design with rich spatial elaboration within limited budget." ~ Jury comment