Durham County Courthouse

The mission of the Durham City/County Sustainability Office is to protect and improve Durham's environment through wise use of natural resources by providing guidance and resources to City and County employee, businesses and citizens. To adhere to its mission, the Durham County Courthouse implemented sustainable strategies to its building by creating a sustainable site, water efficiency, recycled materials and resources, energy and atmosphere, indoor air quality and the overall innovation and design process.

The Courthouse is an 11-story facility that effectively consolidates all judicial functions into one central location creating a true judicial campus for Durham County. Heery provided courts programming and planning for the courthouse which houses the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, Clerk of Courts, District and Superior Courts, Public Defender’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, and Trial Court Administration.

The design incorporates an array of new features, many focusing on efficient, functional design and energy use. The 318,000 SF facility’s internal layout includes three separate areas of circulation - one for public, one for courthouse staff, and a secured circulation area for transporting inmates. Public areas, such as the sheriff’s office and traffic court, are located on the lower floors of the building, with those receiving less public traffic positioned on upper floors. Jury assembly spaces include a break room, wellness room and personal lockers. A ceremonial staircase features a mosaic of historic photographs paying homage to the history of justice in Durham. It also acts as a vertical referential space to orient visitors to both the civic purpose of the building and their own civic responsibilities as active participants.

Best practices of a sustainable building:

  • Sustainable Site
  • Water Efficiency
  • Materials & Resources
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Innovation & Design Process


Courts Planning and Programming


Durham, NC


318,000 SF