This past Sunday, August 19, I re-visited Collin and Rockwall counties, specifically their new courthouses. This got me to thinking about the courthouses I've seen that were designed and constructed in the 21st Century. Five come to mind: Collin, Fort Bend, Galveston, Rockwall and Zapata counties. (Midland County occupied a new building recently, but it's truly a rehab of an existing 1980's era office building.) There will be others, I'm sure, and I will eventually see them all. For now, I want to share a photo of each of the five county courthouses listed above and discuss the recent direction courthouse design is taking in Texas.
By the way, Fort Bend County's earlier courthouse and another courts building remain in downtown Richmond.
However, as we move into a new century counties are once again building new courthouses and architects are trying to provide designs that are, shall we say, appropriate. I don't think we've yet found an appropriate contemporary style that reflects our current conditions rather than masking new buildings with trappings of historic styles. On the other hand, these five courthouses are far and away better, or at least less offensive, than those of the mid to late 20th century.
Here's hoping someday a Texas county is willing to work with an architect and landscape architect to create something other than a "decorated shed." Perhaps Hidalgo County will be the one?