Howard County Courthouse, Design Concept

Howard County Courthouse, Design Concept

Design Concept

the story

Part of a Public, Private Partnership (P3) effort for the 286,000 SF Howard County Courthouse, SLAM was the lead designer for the Skanska team. The design of the campus recognizes the symbolic importance of the courthouse to the county and was carefully planned to arrange functional areas in a logical and efficient manner which are readily expandable.

[logo] at-a-glance

Interior Design
Columbia, MD
286,000 SF

While justice buildings represent the dignity of law, they must also convey a dignity in form.  Howard County wanted an open and welcoming courthouse that inspired and demonstrated the strength, stability and unwavering nature of ‘government by the people’ while defining authority.


SLAM developed an iconic building whose massing and exterior expression are inspired by the historic Howard County Courthouse. The circuit court criminal trial courtrooms are set apart in a distinct leg of the building, which resembles the massing of the original building. This portion of the building is clad in a manufactured stone whose color, coursing, texture, and pattern of openings are a reference to the original court.

The entrances to each courtroom are an abstraction of the original courthouse entrance, employing side lights and transom glazing to borrow light into the court proceedings. The building profile is adorned with a precast cornice and the lobby entrance features a lantern tower element that acknowledges the original courthouse cupola. These elements allow the project to induce the idea of the historic courthouse while engaging the modern design.


Howard County received an exceptional plan, an exceptional design and a commitment from a team that proved to the County that in this process they would get the best industry had to offer. I promised the County that they would get an exceptional result. Thank you for being so exceptional. Finally, a couple of special notes of thanks to the leadership: to Bob [Egleston] and Doug [Kleppin] – thank you for your vision, your patience and an exceptional design; I am blessed to work with such professionals.

Bryant M. Farland
Corporate SVP, Skanska

Project Contacts