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 Graphic Design and Interior 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.
Effortless navigation is prioritized, with careful attention given to the design of wayfinding elements. Warm wood tones and natural granite become the base for signage, which includes exterior identification and vehicular directionals, interior directories, overhead directional signs, room identification signs, and all code-required signage.
Wood paneling marks the entrance to each courtroom and incorporates a graphic representation of the Saco River—a major river running throughout the county—above the doors. Strategically placed courtroom numbers ensure easy visibility. The river graphic continues onto privacy vinyl at conference rooms and all directories within the public space. Overhead signs serve as both directories and extensions of the building’s natural patterns of movement, facilitating ease of navigation while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic. Additionally, the utilization of locally sourced Maine granite in the construction of the exterior entrance sign extends the project’s material palette to the outside, providing a warm and welcoming introduction to the courthouse.
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 and the exterior vehicular directional signs were deemed integral components of the cohesive whole, contributing to a unified and user-friendly environment.
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.