Johnson County Courthouse

Olathe, Kansas, USA

Fentress' design for Johnson County Courthouse was inspired by materials and forms found in Kansas geology and history.

Johnson County Courthouse houses 28 courtrooms, flexible space for six to eight additional courtrooms, and a variety of support functions such as a Law Library, Court Administration, District Attorney, Court Clerk, Help Center, Court Trustee, Justice Information Management, and the Sheriff’s Office.  It is designed to serve the community’s needs for at least 75 years, accommodate expected growth of approximately 10,000 residents per year, and fulfill the County’s goal to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent.


Design of the courthouse blends modern, innovative architectural features with traditional elements to create a truly 21st-century facility.  Aesthetic highlights such as a limestone-clad screen wall defines the main entrance, while also paying homage to Kansas geology and history. An expansive glass curtainwall and punched windows create a seamless transition between outside and inside, and also help to exude a sense of openness and transparency.  Additionally, skylights and transoms continue this motif in the courtrooms. Terrazzo floors, glass handrails, acoustical plaster ceilings, and custom millwork contribute to the durability and monumental image of the courthouse, as does the use of classical courtroom finishes such as dark warm woods contrasted with off-white acoustical fabric panels and limestone.

Interior Architecture + Design

Furniture selection further distinguishes this Courthouse from its peers.  For example:

  • Modern task chairs—in an off-white vinyl fabric—compliment the warm wood tones of the jury box.
  • Waterfall tables with wood and metal finishes unify the custom millwork portals and benches featured throughout the building.
  • Flexible, modular furniture in the second level lobby reinforces the modernity and timelessness of the space.
  • A fabric accent of cobalt blue for some of the furniture pieces in the main lobby adds to the playfulness of the custom artwork in the atrium.

Award-Winning Design

  • Award of Excellence, Associated General Contractors of Kansas, 2021
  • Best Project (Government/Public), Engineering News-Record, 2021
  • Capstone Award (Architectural Design), Kansas City Business Journal, 2021
  • Justice Facilities Review, AIA Committee on Architecture for Justice, 2021
  • BEST Award (Serve), IIDA Rocky Mountain Chapter, 2022

USGBC LEED Gold-Certified

Designed to USGBC LEED Gold and WELL Building Institute principles, the Courthouse features numerous sustainable building solutions such as:

  • generous daylighting,
  • water-efficient plumbing fixtures,
  • reduction of heat island effect through thoughtful selection of roof membranes and exterior materials,
  • energy efficient systems,
  • durable and long-lasting materials,
  • low VOC-emitting materials, and
  • flexible design for future adaptation.