Pitkin County Courthouse: Providing Accessibility to 130 years of Colorado Courts

A session by Andy Duckett-Emke and Rebecca Silva
Anderson Hallas Architects and Anderson Hallas Architects

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About this session

Courthouses across Colorado are undergoing changes to allow for new security requirements and to meet growing demands. This session will look at how revision of Pitkin County’s courthouse has breathed new life into the 130-year-old community building. Learn how a design team's approach required coordination between the Colorado State Courts, Pitkin County, and Aspen Historic Preservation Commission, to overcome accessibility challenges, upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems, and modernizations to meet 21st-century court security needs.

Pitkin County’s Courthouse provides a case study for courthouse rehabilitation that can be applied to communities facing similar challenges state and nationwide. This session will be broken into distinct sections considering design and collaboration, construction, security, and the impacts of COVID-19.

The project required collaboration between the Pitkin County Commissioners, Colorado State Courts, Aspen Building Department, and Aspen Historic Preservation Commission accessibility. Rehabilitation strategies were developed and approved to meet HPC's design guidelines. In addition, 130 years of non-sympathetic electrical, mechanical, and architectural modifications needed to be removed or upgraded. The Courthouse was to remain a working courthouse throughout construction. As the demolition of non-historic materials unveiled information on the historic building construction, the team reacted to new information to be as sensitive to historic materials as possible. Adaptations included sensitive structural modifications, mechanical and plumbing revisions, and uncovering hidden historic details.