November 21, 2013 AdminHBA Design, Sustainability/LEED®

Portsmouth Judicial Center: IIDA IDEA Award- First Place!

HBA received a First Place Award for the Interiors of  the Portsmouth Judicial Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Here’s what the judges had to say about it:

“Our last entry in Contract Government is this renovation and addition for a City Judicial Center. The design team was challenged to integrate new and old buildings… the designers incorporated natural materials and an organic color palette to bridge the buildings. The judges commented on the use of materials and repetition of form and pattern as well as the design details woven through the space. A First Place in Contract Government for the Design of the Portsmouth Judicial Center in Portsmouth, VA, is awarded to HBA Architecture & Interior Design, Inc. in VA Beach.”

This project was truly a team effort that included almost everyone at HBA at one point or another. Special recognition goes to the following for their hard work, time and talent in developing the Interior Design for this important project for HBA:

  • Bill Hargrove, AIA
  • Joe Miller, AIA
  • Mariusz Mijal, AIA
  • Maxine Baer, CID, IIDA
  • Grace Cope

Here’s the project submission:

The architectural imagery of the new Portsmouth Judicial Center is derived from classical forms typical of traditional courthouse design, and enriched by contemporary elements inspired by the American Craftsman style. Materials used for construction were carefully selected to highlight the timeless and enduring nature of this project and to reflect the solemnity of the spaces and the proceedings which will occur within them. The architectural design thus presents a bold, dignified, and rugged judicial appearance that references traditional images of justice, but with a decidedly modern approach.


Main Entry Side_PJC

Design of the new City of Portsmouth Judicial Center involved the complete renovation of an existing one and two-story office warehouse building (approximately 103,700 square feet), as well as a new three-story addition (approximately 103,000 square feet), resulting in a combined total area of approximately 206,700 square feet.

Site Plan_PJC

The challenge of adapting an existing office building into a court facility was answered through the successful integration of new with old, while maintaining all of the functionality required of a modern judicial complex. The building design features two equally-sized public entrances, both with large plazas and two-story lobbies, linked to a central public corridor. Separate and distinct circulation paths to all of the courts, inaccessible to the public circulation routes, were created for the judges and staff, and for the in-custody defendants.First Floor_PJC


The new courts facility replaced a courts facility constructed approximately 40 years ago and had reached its useful life. The city’s new courts facility houses 12 new courtrooms, including six Circuit Court, three General District, and three Juvenile & Domestic Relations, and related administrative offices. Offices for the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Juvenile Court Services, and the Portsmouth Sheriff will also be located in the facility.

The development of the Portsmouth Judicial Center required intense coordination and management of multiple stakeholders and regulatory approval agencies that were involved in the design process from the very beginning.  Because the City of Portsmouth was under order by the Virginia Supreme Court to provide adequate courts facilities, a whole new level of jurisdictional approval was added to the process.

The concept of the lobby art, derived from the allegorical symbol of Lady Justice balancing the scales of truth and justice, measuring the support and opposition for each case brought before the court. The vertical spines running within the sculpture’s center allude to the double-edged sword Lady Justice typically holds in her right hand –  which divides with the power of reason and justice, simultaneously, in either direction.






Complementing the American Craftsman architectural style of the building, as well as the materials used throughout the facility, the sculpture was crafted utilizing polished aluminum and was then faux-painted to mimic the cherry wood accents that are used throughout the building.

The sculptural piece was intended to enhance and supplement the architecture, while encouraging classic ideals of justice, impartiality, and objectivity. Like the building in which the artwork is housed, this piece blends the old with the new in a way that is both refreshingly neoteric and respectfully derivative.Courtroom_PJC