Montgomery County Justice Center

Montgomery County Justice Center Rendering
Montgomery County Justice Center
Montgomery County Justice Center

The largest project ever undertaken by Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, this renovation and expansion to its Justice Center will introduce generous civic spaces in the heart of Norristown and consolidate the county’s court and administrative facilities into a single campus.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction In Progress
  • Completion Year 2027
  • Design Finish Year 2021
  • Size Building Height: 108 feet Number of Stories: 6 Building Gross Area: 507,000 square feet
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C CS (Core & Shell) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators
    Shen Milsom & Wilke Van Deusen & Associates Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc. John Milner Associates Carl Walker, Inc. Brandston Partnership Hopkins Food Service Specialist, Inc Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltf Jensen Hughes BKV Group Interface Engineering
Project Facts
  • Status Construction In Progress
  • Completion Year 2027
  • Design Finish Year 2021
  • Size Building Height: 108 feet Number of Stories: 6 Building Gross Area: 507,000 square feet
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C CS (Core & Shell) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators
    Shen Milsom & Wilke Van Deusen & Associates Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc. John Milner Associates Carl Walker, Inc. Brandston Partnership Hopkins Food Service Specialist, Inc Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltf Jensen Hughes BKV Group Interface Engineering

Restoring a landmark

Montgomery County’s neoclassical courthouse, originally built in 1856, is a landmark in the center of Norristown—a symbol of government in Pennsylvania’s third most populous county. The project, a comprehensive renovation and expansion, is restoring its historic features, modernizing its interiors, and making its copper dome the focal point of the Justice Center campus. With the addition of a 322,500-square-foot building, the project will turn an inward-facing complex into an open, welcoming place. A new glass-enclosed atrium links the existing and new buildings, creating a bright entrance to the complex while emphasizing both the rich past and promising future of Montgomery County.

© SOM | Bezier

Expanding the courthouse

The new building, located to the south of the landmark courthouse, frames views of the historic dome. The building’s massing lowers as it approaches Main Street and the site’s reimagined greenspace, lending the complex an approachable feel. Respecting the architectural language of its neighbor, the design avoids formal excess. Its cladding is primarily fritted glass with a marble pattern, a nod to the original courthouse and a contemporary take on the Pennsylvania “King of Prussia” Blue Marble famously quarried in Montgomery County.

© SOM | Bezier

Throughout the interiors, a structural grid plan allows for the flexible arrangement of courtrooms, circulation, support rooms, and hearing rooms. The project adds 18 courtrooms in the new building and includes two new and six renovated courtrooms in the historic structure. In the new building, all courtrooms are stacked linearly, creating an efficient arrangement that minimizes travel distances and permits a high degree of flexibility and security.


Enhancing building performance

Sustainability played a key role in all aspects of the design—from the expanded green spaces with native plantings to the fritted cladding—and the project is targeting LEED Gold certification. Aged mechanical systems will be replaced in the original courthouse to use energy more efficiently. Despite more than doubling the Justice Center’s square footage, the complex will halve both its energy and indoor water consumption through various strategies, including the design of a green roof and the creation of a central utility plant.

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