Tuolumne County’s new courthouse located in Sonora, California is officially complete! The new building, designed by Lionakis, and completed by Turner Construction, stands two stories high, contains five courtrooms, a Courts Clerks and Administration space, in-custody facilities, and family court services. Lionakis was awarded the project in mid-2010, and developed the plans for the building at the County’s Law & Justice Center (LJC) located just south of State Highway 108. Key design issues that were crucial to establishing the new courthouse as the focal point of the LJC include siting the building to display the prominence of the Courts in our society, sustainability, circulation, and providing outdoor spaces and views of the spectacular natural surroundings.

Tuolumne County is known for using its very own Columbia Marble, sourced from the immediate surroundings on their facilities and throughout the County, including at State and Federal monuments. It was important that this historical and regional natural resource of the County be integrated into the design. Two features in the courthouse which utilize the local marble are the judge’s benches as a textured featured wall, and in the surrounding courthouse landscape, creating a visible anchor to the site as soon as you enter the courtroom lobby. The marble slabs have been placed in and around the facility. Additionally, because the courthouse sits on a prominent hillside, expansive clerestory windows were incorporated in the design, placed above the courthouse lobby. These windows provide abundant natural daylighting and views of the surrounding hillsides. On a clear day, it’s possible to see nearby Yosemite National Park!

This project now provides a long-awaited new home for the County and Judicial Council of California. Have a look at the fabulous photos by photographer Chip Allen that were recently taken of this just completed project in the gallery below.