AECOM, in joint venture, provided design services for the new 159,725-gross-square-foot Maryland District Court of Rockville. The new facility includes nine courtrooms for the district court and its agencies, detention facilities, the Office of the Public Defender, and offices for the Maryland Department of General Services. The new courthouse is the visual southern terminus of Maryland Avenue, one of the gateways to the center of Rockville. Steps leading up to a plaza afford a proper sense of arrival to this civic building and provide a safe zone separated from a busy intersection.

The design is a monolithic contemporary form that embraces a multi-story window giving the first-time user an understanding of the building’s public zone. The use of glass orients the approaching users and, once inside, provides a “window to Rockville.” The mass of the building is divided into three major zones by slices of glazing. The building materials were selected in consideration of their solemnity and durability.

Level 1 functions include entry, reception, security, and queueing and holding. This level also accommodates detention facilities, the commissioners’ suite, and state administration offices. Level 2 houses court administrative functions, while Level 3 is taken up almost entirely by the Office of the Public Defender. The build-out places three typical courtrooms and the slightly larger traffic court on Level 4; three courtrooms and two hearing rooms on Level 5; and two courtrooms, two hearing rooms and a multipurpose room on Level 6. Levels 3, 4, 5 and 6 have identical floor plates with prisoner service cores that allow for re-configuration of up to 16 courtrooms.


  • 2012 Award of Excellence, AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice
  • 2012 Award of Excellence, Best Institutional Facility, NAIOP Maryland/DC chapter
  • 2011 Project of the Year, Association of Builders and Contractors