New Courthouse blossoms into a Civic Space for one California Town

The building's canopy suggests classical courthouse features of front porch and portico. It also helps connect the building with a public plaza that has re-centered civic activity and public gathering for the town.

The Superior Court of California used to operate its courthouse for San Benito County from an aging building in the county seat of Hollister. That building’s myriad inadequacies included allowing visitors and inmates to enter through the same door—a security nightmare.

In 2009, SmithGroup won its bid to design a new courthouse that would provide a sense of place that Hollister lacked. What the design firm came up with was a 41,500-sf building on two floors that, since opening a year ago, has established itself as a true civic center.

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