York Judicial Center is the newest and largest judicial center in the state of Maine, consolidating four District and Superior courthouses into one new facility. In collaboration with Finegold Alexander Architects, our Interior Design and Graphic Design studios developed the interiors, signage, and wayfinding. The complex programming demanded a considered, responsive design that translates across a wide range of spaces—from private judges’ chambers to family courtrooms to secure detention areas.
The natural landscape of York County provided a foundation for the design, with a color palette derived directly from the county’s natural surroundings. Saturated greens and granite-inspired textures were pulled from the area’s forests, deep blues were inspired by the meandering rivers and Atlantic Ocean, and burnt chartreuses reference the serene salt marshes. The palette creates an atmosphere of tranquility and grandeur, providing a comfortable and welcoming environment to help calm and mitigate the stress the public may experience when visiting the courthouse.
At the public lobbies, a dramatic blue wall at all three of the building’s levels is complimented by warm wood tones and floor finishes echoing the color and texture of natural stone, embodying Maine’s rocky landscape. Visible from outside through the building’s extensive windows, this consistent, multi-level gesture of color aids wayfinding in public areas and directs users to the stately courtrooms beyond. The colors and textures of the furniture program enliven the relatively neutral interior palette. The program integrates seamlessly into the design, with emphasis on multiple seating groups and seating styles to accommodate people of all abilities and different group sizes at the public lobbies. High back chairs and booths provide privacy, with textural landscape-inspired fabrics, accented by darker, warm wood tones. Outside the family courtrooms, small play tables and the addition of ottomans ensure flexibility and comfort for children. All materials and surfaces provide for durability and ease of cleaning, appropriate to the maintenance requirements of these high traffic areas.
No aspect of the project was overlooked in the pursuit of enhancing the overall user experience. Even seemingly minor elements such as the interior of bathrooms or jury deliberation rooms were deemed integral components of the cohesive whole, contributing to a unified and user-friendly environment. The inspiration of the local landscape of York County continues to extend its narrative through these less visible spaces, where the colors and textures enhance comfort for its users and make these spaces more welcoming.
The collaboration between our Graphic Design and Interior Design studios with Finegold Alexander Architects has yielded a cohesive and high-quality experience for all users. Striking a delicate balance between formal aesthetics and practical needs, the York Judicial Center stands as a testament to creating an environment that harmonizes with its surroundings and fosters a sense of calm, inclusivity, and respect.
Maine Judicial Branch
Finegold Alexander Architects