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    Publications Benchmarks: Journal of the New York State Unified Court System


Court Construction Update

Appellate Division, Third Department | Albany County Family Court | Erie County Hall


The Justice Building, located on the Empire State Plaza in Albany, is a significant landmark in modernist urbanism and serves as the home of the Appellate Division, Third Department. Having outgrown its existing facilities, the court required the expansion of its legal research department and other offices to an additional floor, complete renovation of its courtroom, the addition of two judges’ chambers and expansion of the judges’ conference room outside the envelope of the existing building.  
Bench and well of new courtroom
Bench and well of new courtroom

What’s New? The renovation comprised 30,000 square feet of office space on three floors and 2,400 square feet of new courtroom space. The new conference room addition, clad in titanium panels and clear glass, maintains the grid of the existing building and is a crisp, disciplined update of the original modernist expression. The addition was reviewed and approved by the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The renovated courtroom integrates marble and wood paneling and a central lay light to create a sense of uplift to this windowless interior room. The existing ceiling height is increased by five feet, and the new judges’ bench is curved to improve sightlines for the five-judge appellate panel.

Architect: RicciGreene Associates
OCA Architect: Ed Rodman

Justice Building
Justice Building

Photos by RicciGreene Associates


After years of planning, Albany County Family Court has relocated to a brand new courthouse at 30 Clinton Ave. in downtown Albany. This building replaces the old one located at One Van Tromp St. The old building was 36,000 square feet, and the court had outgrown it years ago. The new Family Court opened on Monday, June 20.

What’s New? The new Family Court is 90,000 square feet and includes five courtrooms and three support magistrate hearing rooms. To provide flexibility, one courtroom is designed to handle jury trials. The building has state-of-the-art equipment, including digital-recording systems in the courtrooms, and adult and juvenile holding facilities in the basement. The building is beautifully landscaped and has a grand entrance with limestone pillars and brick facade. The new courthouse was also designed to provide space for ancillary agencies.

Architect: Clough, Harbour & Associates LLP
Crandell Associates
OCA Architect: Michael Hinnenkamp

Albany County Family Court
Albany County Family Court

Photo: BBL Construction Services

(Formerly City and Old County Hall)

After 16 years of planning and design, the renovation and reconfiguration of Old County Hall and the Annex Building in Buffalo was finally completed in August. Old County Hall was originally constructed in 1872 to serve as a civic center and courthouse complex for Erie County and the City of Buffalo, replacing widely-scattered government buildings.

What’s New? A multi-year project has restored the grandeur of this historic courthouse. Old County Hall now houses six restored Supreme Court civil parts and chambers, including the ceremonial courtroom; Erie County Surrogate’s Court, which was moved to the second floor; and the office of the 8th District Administrative Judge. The annex, which was originally constructed in 1964 and housed Erie County Family Court, now houses 21 Supreme and County Court criminal and civil parts and chambers on six floors, as well as offices of the Commissioner of Jurors, chief clerk and court reporters. On April 14, the Court of Appeals inaugurated the restored ceremonial courtroom by holding a one-day session, marking the Court’s first official visit to the Niagara Frontier since the 19th century.

Architect: Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects PC
OCA Architect: Ed Rodman

Ceremonial Courthouse
Ceremonial courtroom

Photo: Joe Deantonis

Fall 2005PDF Format
Largest NY Courthouse Opens Court Security Task Force Report Appeals Court Upholds Camera Ban Jay Street Architect Technology at Jay Street Courthouse Court Construction Update Mohawk Tribe Votes on Family Court Parent Education Advisory Board IDV Courts Court Interpreters Judicial Campaign Ethics Center Historic Courthouses: Ontario County Did You Know? NY Judicial Institute Calendar Judicial Institute Receives Award UCS Establishes Katrina Fund


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Web page updated: September 1, 2006 - www.NYCOURTS.gov