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Indianapolis-Marion County Community Justice Center

Indianapolis, Indiana

Rising above the coal ashes of a former industrial plant, a new civic campus brings a sense of energy and pride to the Indianapolis community. Founded on principles of transparency, universal access and a holistic approach to mental health, this state-of-the-art LEED facility will transform how justice is done while reducing recidivism for the people it serves.

Unlike similar facilities of this project type—where judicial, law enforcement and punitive functions are treated as separate—the building weaves together all three into one cohesive expression.

The courts tower hovers as a crystalline patterned form, conveying the importance of the judicial system. As a counterpoint, the mental health/detention center sits quietly as a more monolithic background element. Weaving both together are the sheriff’s department and public spaces in the two-story facade along the main parking area and Pleasant Run Creek.

In addition to the functional interconnectedness, the building and landscape are merged together. Building forms are bent and carved to integrate with the creek and the civic entry plaza. Artificial site topography rises up 16 feet to create a universal accessible approach for visitors and staff while ensuring that secure ground-level functions are uninterrupted.

The design orients interior public circulation and waiting areas to nature. An outdoor courtyard provides a place of respite for staff and inmates. An exterior language of precast and glass communicate a sense of permanence and lightness to the overall design, bringing a balance of both traditional and contemporary architecture to the campus.

HOK collaborated with DLZ, Synthesis, Lerch Bates and Camacho.

1.38 million sq. ft. / 128,185 sq. m.
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