Kansas City, Missouri
A master plan was developed outlining renovation and expansion strategies for the 100,000 square foot Kansas City Municipal Courthouse. At the outset of the planning process, Judges requested the design help re-establish a respectful, honorable, and calming environment for those involved in the judicial process. The Brutalist architecture style of the building, with the exposed interior concrete and delicate detailing, had layers of grime and staining leaving the public with a dark experience for their day in court. The Judges, understanding a visit to the Municipal Courthouse may be the first interaction a citizen may have with the Court of Law, wanted to use design to help reduce any anxiety and to help make their visit a positive experience. Another high priority was improving security by creating one secure entrance to the building. The Court requested a layout that was intuitive for the public to understand and use. To achieve this goal, the first floor was completely gutted and rearranged with a central marque and lobby. The central elevator core became a focus element that the lobby flows around. A wall of monitors is used to direct the public once they pass through security. Highly visible counters were provided for the Violations Bureau and Probation. Both counters direct the public to the large lobby with a three-story atrium that ascends to the Courtrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
A larger Courtroom was added in the center of the Courthouse, utilizing public spaces that were no longer accessible to the public. The Judge’s bench, gallery seating and vintage clock were refurbished from another courtroom and reused in the new courtroom. New wood paneling matches the design of the original paneling in other courtrooms. The existing roof was renovated to include a green roof, walkway and patio for staff working in the facility.