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Harris County Courthouses And Square

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I think the name of this thread sums it up nicely.

 

"Harris County Jury Assembly Room And Transportation Plaza"

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13 hours ago, HoustonBoy said:

What exactly is this place?


 The surface is a (poorly-designed, and therefore completely unused) green space.   The building is where people entered to report for jury duty.  The surface level is pretty much just vestibule, elevators and escalators.  Below the surface was the jury assembly:  some open space, multiple assembly rooms, and tunnel connections to all of the county buildings and courthouses.  It was flooded by, IIRC, Harvey. Last I heard they do not plan to reopen it. Once would think a local journalist might have inquired and reported on it...

Edited by Houston19514
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Reconstruction begins on flooded Harris County Jury Assembly Plaza

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Reconstruction-begins-on-flooded-Harris-County-15074070.php#photo-19068507

 

 

Quote

 

More than two years after Hurricane Harvey filled the Jury Assembly Plaza downtown with 13 feet of water, its reconstruction is finally underway.

 

The $11.3 million project was stalled until Harris County commissioners approved a funding agreement last week. The county had been waiting on FEMA’s approval for its part in financing the project, County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

 

“We’re asking all the questions to make sure this isn’t only done quickly but that it’s done well,” she said outside the plaza Friday. “It’s important to the administration of justice to making sure that enough jurors can come together each day.”

 

Hidalgo and District Clerk Marilyn Burgess assured the public that more precautions will be taken during the rebuild to ensure that Harvey’s level of flooding in August 2017 won’t happen again.

 

The building, at 1201 Congress, is mostly underground and consists of four chambers and an open central area. Floodwater filled the assembly room, also destroying a number of windows and furniture, according to the district clerk’s office.

 

Mitigation efforts include relocating an electric vault to an above-ground space to address the source of past flooding. Penetrations to the vault will be sealed, and the basement flood doors will be replaced. Those will also have sensors that detect moisture and trigger alarms, county officials said.

 

The plan also calls for workers to install water resistant flooring; new ceilings, walls and furniture; and a renovated pumping and ventilation system.

 

 

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The surprise of the day was coming across this Liebherr tower crane base on the west side of the Harris County Criminal Courts building. Vaughn is the GC. Does anyone know what they are going to do? I know it received a lot of damage during Harvey and other flooding events but why would a tower crane be used to do the repairs?

 

Mods can place this topic elsewhere if not appropriate for Going Up.

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I'm not sure what work needs to be done, post Harvey, but from where I live I can see the roof of the building. It looked to have been damaged during Harvey and remained since then. Maybe they are working on it finally.

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That place has had huge problems caused by a lack of elevator capacity since Day One, among other design flubs.

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2 hours ago, mollusk said:

That place has had huge problems caused by a lack of elevator capacity since Day One, among other design flubs.

it seems like it was designed by someone who was never stuck with jury duty, or there would be twice as many elevators

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9 hours ago, Tumbleweed_Tx said:

it seems like it was designed by someone who was never stuck with jury duty, or there would be twice as many elevators

The issue with capacity hasn't been for juries, it's more of a hassle for defendants and their attorneys who have had to wait for an hour or more to get through the screening process and onto an elevator to get to the right courtroom. Judges didn't help by revoking bail for being late, even though the defendants had no reason to know how bad the lines were.

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^ ^ You're both right.

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On 8/1/2020 at 10:26 AM, Ross said:

The issue with capacity hasn't been for juries, it's more of a hassle for defendants and their attorneys who have had to wait for an hour or more to get through the screening process and onto an elevator to get to the right courtroom. Judges didn't help by revoking bail for being late, even though the defendants had no reason to know how bad the lines were.

 

This seems like one of the worst buildings ever built in Houston. I doubt it is still standing after 2040.

 

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On 8/8/2020 at 2:47 PM, Houston19514 said:

Wow, do we know what the plan is for the Jury Assembly Plaza?  Renderings?


Found a render. Page designing this. They were the original architect. 
 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Reconstruction-begins-on-flooded-Harris-County-15074070.php

 

image.jpeg.1cf4acfbe4ba684e792388c87cda6a55.jpeg

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On 8/8/2020 at 2:58 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

This seems like one of the worst buildings ever built in Houston. I doubt it is still standing after 2040.

 

I really hope the Civil Courthouse is gone before then. IMO it's in the top 10 worst for worst in Houston. 

 

The Criminal Courthouse is in the same realm, but it doesn't leave as sour taste.

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1 minute ago, Montrose1100 said:

I really hope the Civil Courthouse is gone before then. IMO it's in the top 10 worst for worst in Houston. 

 

The Criminal Courthouse is in the same realm, but it doesn't leave as sour taste.

 

The Civil Courthouse would undoubtedly look better without the flying saucer / dome plopped on top at the insistence of one of the judges.  That said, it functions very well internally and came through Harvey pretty well - all as a result of lessons learned from the CJC, which has suffered operational problems since Day One.  Perhaps the dome can go back to Tralfamadore during a refresh.

 

CJC got clobbered during Allison, too (albeit without exploding plumbing on upper floors).  Fortunately the criminal courts had only moved in a month or two earlier, so they just moved right back into their previous quarters.

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5 minutes ago, mollusk said:

 

The Civil Courthouse would undoubtedly look better without the flying saucer / dome plopped on top at the insistence of one of the judges.  That said, it functions very well internally and came through Harvey pretty well - all as a result of lessons learned from the CJC, which has suffered operational problems since Day One.  Perhaps the dome can go back to Tralfamadore during a refresh.

 

CJC got clobbered during Allison, too (albeit without exploding plumbing on upper floors).  Fortunately the criminal courts had only moved in a month or two earlier, so they just moved right back into their previous quarters.

Functionally you are 100% correct.

 

Visually, the Civil Courthouse looks like it could be the Capital Building of Memorial City. Tack-a-rama. The Brown is the color of the giant leather Gallery Furniture couches the types of homes with rustic stars have inside of them (comfortable, yes, huge and ugly, also yes). The beige stucco arches perhaps inspired by the french country kitchen vent hood. The high contrast with the reflective glass is reminiscent of the 100% saturation & clarity images realtors take on HAR. The tiny useless columns... this thing is giant McMansion. 

 

Sorry Mollusk. Plenty of time to complain online during Covid.

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No worries, Mont - it is a McMansion, which is what you get when you've got a committee of people who've worked hard to live in McMansions driving the design decisions.  I was just picking out the design detail that grates my cheese even from a distance, and which could most easily go away (if you want to call something that gargantuan a "detail"). 

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2 hours ago, mollusk said:

The Civil Courthouse would undoubtedly look better without the flying saucer / dome plopped on top at the insistence of one of the judges.

 

Frustrated architect, or planning ahead for the Alien Rapture?

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:ph34r:

1 hour ago, mkultra25 said:

Frustrated architect, or planning ahead for the Alien Rapture?

 

Likely a bit of both. :ph34r:

Edited by mollusk
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