In this episode of Talking Architecture & Design, we talk to Architectus director and justice space design expert Mark Wilde about the evolution of courthouse design. 

According to Wilde, his interest in court design was sparked by a stint doing jury duty for a murder trial.

“I was called for jury duty in a murder trial, and then spent five days in the courthouse listening to the evidence being presented where I was generally getting fascinated by the whole environment,” says Wilde.

“Following the courtroom deliberations, the jurors adjourned to the jury pool room where the atmosphere was very intense and left a lasting impression on me. This is where my passion for the field commenced.”

Speaking about the evolution of courthouse design, Wilde notes that while courthouses were once “fortresses with heavy walls and punched openings”, things have changed a lot in the last decade. 

“The modern court building has taken another direction – one that is sensitive to, and supportive of all the occupants in the building,” he says. 

“Features such as windows, natural light and views provide a great opportunity to calm people. This is a great option for the glass tower option as opposed to the fortress, with the architect trying to materially affect the mood of the people inside the court building.”