This material is used by permission of Ohio University Press, www.ohioswallow.com

  • Architect: Harry Hake, Cincinnati
  • 1933
  • 65 South Front Street
  • Renovation: Schooley Caldwell Associates, Columbus; Moody•Nolan Ltd., Columbus; Feinknopf Macioce Schappa, Columbus (exterior), 2004

Only a block off Capitol Square, the Ohio Judicial Center is one of the state’s premier examples of the Art Moderne style. Originally built as a state office building and housing a variety of state departments through the years, the building was renovated for use by the judicial branch of Ohio’s government.

Across the river from Central High School, this fourteen-story white marble building has a distinctive copper roof. Although the exterior appears austere from a distance, closer inspection reveals ornamentation and inscriptions that celebrate the rich history of the state of Ohio. Particularly noteworthy are the bronze doors along Civic Center Drive and the two large stone carvings on the Front Street elevation. The carvings represent tall, stylized human figures flanked by pairs of animals—rams in the south carving and felines in the north carving.

During its original construction, the architect employed nationally recognized artists to create decorative elements for the building, depicting Ohio history and industry. The public spaces on the ground and first-floor levels of the building include bas-reliefs, painted murals, mosaics, and decorative metals, all of which are fully integrated into the architecture of the building.

The most impressive interior space, the former Hearing Room #2, is now used as a courtroom by the Supreme Court. The room is well scaled and proportioned. The walls are covered with rich paneling and damask fabric. An ornamental ceiling with murals celebrating the five states formed from the old Northwest Territory, and a newly carved bench make this dignified and solemn space ideal for use by the Supreme Court of Ohio. The hearing rooms at the north and south ends of the building also have painted wall murals depicting the development of Ohio.

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