Superior Courthouse, New Britain, CT 2008
granite, stainless steel, brass, concrete, epoxy
3.2′ x 35′ x 45′
Stainless steel lines in the pavement come from all directions to converge on a dark granite circle in the concrete plaza. Within the circle, the crisscrossing lines represent intersecting paths at cross-purposes—the inevitable conflicts the courts must adjudicate. Each line rises from the ground as a three-dimensional diagonal that holds up a segment of the circular handrail—the complete circle that symbolizes the consensus we citizens share and abide by in a civil society. The full circle of the handrail is supported, both structurally and symbolically, by the multiple lines rising from the ground-plane.
The radiating lines in the concrete pavement draw the visitor toward the Rail of Justice. The visitor—whether judge, juror, plaintiff, or defendant—is encouraged to grasp the rail as he/she enters or exits the courthouse, ritually affirming a connection with our justice system. With hands on the Rail, the citizen sees inside the circle a contained image of social exchange and conflict—the disorder that is an inevitable part of our free society. In this way he/she physically confirms his/her own part in the mutual agreement to live by law in a system constructed for and by the people.
Commissioned by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and the Department of Public Works.