Introduction and Instructions
Organization of the U.S. Courts Design Guide
The Guide consists of 14 chapters plus acknowledgments, a preface, a foreword,
an introduction, an appendix, and an index. Chapters 2 through 14 provide
planning and design guidance and specific criteria. With some exceptions, each
chapter is broken out into functional categories. The categories include functions
and activities; user capacity; adjacency and circulation; size; design requirements;
conditioning (HVAC); lighting; and electrical, audio, video, communications, and
data transmission for each type of space.
To better serve the participants in the design process, Chapters 2 and 3 are written
primarily for judges and judicial personnel; Chapters 4 through 14 are written
primarily for design professionals (architects, planners, and engineers) who design
Tables are provided in most of the chapters to summarize planning, programming,
and design requirements for major space groupings. The tables provide quantities,
measurements, and descriptions for each space or sub-space.
Chapter 1: The Federal Courts System briefly describes the organization of the
federal court system, its administrative functions, and the judicial process.
Chapter 2: Courthouse Programming and Budgetary Considerations
Overview describes the process used to plan, program, design, and construct
federal court facilities, as well as strategies for developing cost-effective
courthouses to accommodate the judiciary's current and future needs. The
budgetary responsibilities of the judiciary, GSA, and other courthouse project
participants are also described.
Chapter 3: General Design Guidelines contains general design guidelines for
judges and judicial personnel working with an A/E team to design a new court
facility. In addition, the chapter assists A/E team members in understanding the
functional and spatial relationships among the major components of a court
facility; the need for separation of circulation systems; and the general guidelines
barrier-free access, and signs. The chapter contains spatial relationship,
accessibility, and circulation (SRAC) diagrams for the U.S. Court of Appeals
(USCA), U.S. District Court (USDC) including magistrate judges, and the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court (USBC).
Chapters 4 through 13 contain specific design guidelines to assist the A/E team
in the design of a new court facility. Each chapter addresses a major category of
space or grouping of spaces. With some exceptions, Chapters 4 through 13 consist
of three distinct components: SRAC diagrams, tables, and written specific design
guidelines. These components contain pertinent architectural and technical