Superior Court of California, San Benito County


Superior Court of California, Hollister Courthouse

Hollister, California

41,500 SF | 3,800 M2

Architecture, Interior Architecture

Citation Award, Owners' Project Excellence Awards, Publication Award

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“Throughout all phases of the project, the SmithGroupJJR team provided a depth of experience that helped guide the project to a conclusion that has yielded enthusiastic approval from the Court and community.”

—Steven Sanders, Presiding Judge


The Superior Court of California in San Benito County was operating in a mid-20th-century building that had become inadequate for today’s needs, with undersized courtrooms and a design that couldn’t accommodate current courtroom security practices. Furthermore, it was a state function located within a county building. The Superior Court needed a new facility that could accommodate the necessary multi-functional courtrooms and would meet California Trial Court Facilities Standards. 

The new stand-alone courthouse facility anchors a new civic node in downtown Hollister, on the original homestead of the city’s namesake, Colonel William Hollister. Light and space characterizes the design. A two-story façade of glass floods the double-story lobby with natural light. This connection to the outdoors creates a welcoming, calming space, alluding to the transparency of law and access to justice for all. An open staircase creates a focal point, providing clear navigation and encouraging its use. The building’s single point of entry and highly efficient linear layout create secure and efficient circulation throughout the building, with three separate pathways for staff, the public and those being detained. The courthouse includes three courtroom sets (each with judge chambers, secured holding and jury deliberation room) and offices.

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