Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Courthouse Design Draws Notice; Architectural Group Offers Its Praises

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Courthouse Design Draws Notice; Architectural Group Offers Its Praises

Article excerpt


YULEE -- A national architectural institute has recognized the Nassau County Judicial Annex as an example of excellence in design.

Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects notified Nassau County Circuit Judge Robert M. Foster that the organization would award a "certificate of merit" to Spillis Candela DMJM, the architectural firm that designed the 2-year-old courthouse.

The building also is featured in the 2005-2006 Justice Facilities Review, an American Institute of Architects publication.

"I'm very pleased with the design, the aesthetics of it," Nassau County Clerk of Courts John Crawford said of the building. "I'm pleased the entire judiciary is here. It's a beautiful and very functional building and it serves the taxpayers well."

Spillis Candela DMJM Principal Architect Rick Macia said his design team is proud of the recognition.

"I like to think the building won the award," Macia said. "We do a lot of courthouse work, but we're always very excited when the AIA selects one of our projects for publication in the Justice Facilities Review. It's a jury competition against projects from all over the country."

In recognizing the building, the institute noted a number of design elements, including the courthouse's three-story atrium lobby, public staircase, Tuscan columns, brick facade and signature clock tower, which is 130 feet tall and reminiscent of the 1891 Historic Nassau County Courthouse in downtown Fernandina Beach.

"That's something we did consciously," Macia said. "We wanted to come up with a design that would complement the courthouse in Fernandina Beach. It was in an area where there is no courthouse, but we wanted to create an environment that emulates the courthouse in Fernandina Beach."

The Judicial Annex, about one-half mile south of Florida A1A on William Burgess Boulevard near Interstate 95, is the $17 million centerpiece of the 150-acre Nassau County governmental campus. The area also includes the Nassau County Jail, which opened in October 2002.

County officials used a $34 million, 30-year bond from SunTrust Bank in 2000 to fund the campus project. …

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