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Jefferson County Courthouse

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1993, C. W. Fentress, J. H. Bradburn and Associates. 100 Jefferson County Pkwy.
  • Jefferson County Courthouse

The county's grandest, most overbearing structure, sited on a prominent hillside, won a national AIA citation, but local critics have been less kind to the building they call the “Taj Mahal.” Soaring above raw prairie hills and arroyos, this 531,000-square-foot, $102 million monument of tan and brown cast stone culminates in a 130-foot-high glass-domed atrium from which four wings arc through landscaped courtyards. The glazed rotunda and plaza recall monumental public buildings of the past, while the grand atrium is reminiscent of a John Portman hotel lobby. Trimmed in brass and cherry wood, this interior space presents a grand view. Balconies extend in semicircular bays from the upper three floors, and neutral colors are sparked by bands of blue, green, and rose terrazzo and bits of red granite in the floors. To one side are county administrative offices; opposite are twenty-eight courtrooms. The buff precast concrete exterior has darker squares and crosses inset to humanize its massive scale. Golden's original brick courthouse could fit inside the grandiose atrium.

Some of the building's critics blasted the county for abandoning downtown Golden for a suburban site. In addition, the building's high cost sparked a taxpayer revolt. Jefferson County voters ousted the county commissioners responsible for it and overwhelmingly supported a tax limitation amendment to the state constitution.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Jefferson County Courthouse", [Golden, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 155-156.

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