After years of population growth, Will County needed a new judicial complex to meet its current and future operational needs. The new facility, designed by HOK and Wight + Company, is a modern and sleek judicial complex with a revitalizing impact on downtown Joliet, southwest of Chicago.
The courthouse complex includes a 10-story tower surrounded by a civic plaza with a lower wing on the building’s west side. There are 38 courtrooms with four flexible courtrooms, an associated judge’s chambers and jury deliberation rooms on each floor. Dedicated elevators transfer defendants to the courtrooms.
The central courtroom zone is clad in a traditional stone. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the public circulation zone evoke a sense of judicial transparency, provide natural daylight and relieve stress for visitors. Lighting fixtures interspersed throughout a wooden ceiling in the lobby add more light to the public circulation zone.
The design of the civic plaza creates a socially equitable space oriented toward downtown Joliet. Pockets of native plantings and trees lend shade and greenery. The lobby and office include green roofs accessible during juror breaks, with all other available roof areas covered in photovoltaics for solar energy.
Separate circulation areas for different users, technology upgrades, and additional courtrooms and security screening stations make the courthouse more secure, efficient and accessible than its predecessor. The team also incorporated universal design principles, ensuring accessibility throughout the facility.