Project DescriptionThe new Ward County Office Building is designed as a minimalist companion to the 1929 Courthouse. Its’ form opens to the courthouse and creates an inviting forecourt connection to the existing plaza that has become the new front door to the Ward County campus. The County is currently in the final planning stages of renovating the Courthouse and a new jail expansion on site is under construction. With the completion of these projects, along with the opening of the new office building, the counties vision for a single “go to” campus for all its services will be realized.
The South wing of the new office building was set back from the main street entrance in alignment with the historic courthouse – to respect the courthouse and to create a forecourt that connects to the courthouse entry plaza. The radius geometry of the South wing draws people arriving from the parking lot across the street thru the forecourt to the main entry.
Clarity of internal circulation was essential. This was particularly important to the owner due to the requirement for many individual offices (for privacy issues) and their history of maze like floor plan arrangements due to continual expansions in a variety of rented facilities. A light-filled central atrium provides a circulation element in a way similar to the internal atrium of the courthouse building. It links the East and West entries from the primary parking lots with a common lobby. It also brings natural light into the core of the building. Elevated walk ways thru the atrium at the second and third levels link the South and North wings, providing views of activity as people cross back and forth.
The custom silk screened glass combined with butt-glazed curtainwall detailing provides a clean, uniform screen-like effect. The silk screening along with minimal finish selections enhances the clean aesthetic of the atrium.