Columbus Ohio Tourism
Support our advertisers
Supreme Court Building, Columbus, Ohio

Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court of Ohio recently moved into their "new" office building located just south of Broad Street along the Scioto River. The Supreme Court is the highest court in Ohio. Althought the Supreme Court is now in a new location, the building is not. It was completed in 1933. Originally called the Ohio Departments Building, over the years the building has housed various departments of state government, even the Ohio House of Representatives during the Statehouse renovation in the 1990s.

Supreme Court Reflecting Pool Gavel

Art Deco Architectural StyleIn 1998, the General Assembly agreed to fund renovations to the original Ohio Departments Building and transform it into the Ohio Judicial Center. The Columbus architectural firm Schooley Caldwell Associates was selected to carry out the historic renovation, which began in 2001. The architects faced the daunting task of restoring the building to its past splendor and modernizing it for modern office needs.

Renovation involved a complete restoration of the building's Grand Concourse and the original hearing rooms — the largest serving as the main Courtroom. What was the State Library has been converted to the Supreme Court Law Library. In addition, the building includes an education center, flexible meeting rooms and adequate office space.

Hundreds of artists and craftsmen contributed to restoring the art deco building. There are many different artistic styles found throughout the building, including 61 murals. The renovation was completed in 2004.

Since the opening, the new Supreme Court Building has won numerous architectural awards for the renovation, including:Front Street Entrance

  • The 2004 Annual Award for Best Rehabilitation Project, accepted on behalf of the Ohio Building Authority by Schooley Caldwell Architects, from Heritage Ohio, a statewide historical preservation advocacy organization, at the organization's annual Preservation & Revitalization Conference.

  • The Build Ohio 2004 Award, Construction Management, awarded to Messer Construction Co. by the Associated General Contractors of Ohio.

  • The Build Ohio 2004 Award - Specialty Contractors, a warded to TP Mechanical contractors by the Associated General Contractors of Ohio.

  • Honor Award 2004, awarded to Schooley Caldwell Associates and Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects by the Columbus Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

  • The 2004 James B. Recchie Design Award, awarded to Schooley Caldwell Associates, associate firm Moody Nolan and Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating Columbus' architectural legacy.

  • The 2004 Special Team Merit Award for Renovation, awarded to Schooley Caldwell Associates, associate firm Moody Nolan and Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects by the Ohio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Supreme Court Grand Concourse

Grand Concourse

On the 1st floor, the Grand Concourse features marble-lined walls, travertine floors and bronze bas-relief plaques honoring 19 Ohioans who made their mark on the national scene. They include Ohio's 8 presidents, 9 justices of the United States Supreme Court and 2 speakers of the House of Representatives. The plaques are spaced between large pilasters of dark green Italian marble.

North Hearing Room

North Hearing Room

The 11 murals in the North Hearing Room reflect the style of pulic art known as American Realism, popular in the 1930s & 40s. They feature scenes depicting the progress of industry in Ohio. The murals, created by Cincinnati artist John Holmer (1894-1962), feature industrial and agricultural workers and are divided between scenes of Ohio labor and modern work. Originally designed for use by the Industrial Commission for hearings related to workers compensation and other issues, the North Hearing Room is now primarily used by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline.

South Meeting Room

South Hearing Room

The storybook murals in the South Hearing room show the important role of the different means of transportation in the development and growth of Ohio Ohio commerce.

Supreme Court Main Hearing Room

Main Courtroom

Appointed with walnut and marble, and bold and muted murals, the Courtroom conveys purpose and sense of Ohio's history. The ornate room features nearly 50 murals depicting everything from the five states created from the Northwest Territory to the settlement of Marietta in 1788. The largest and most ornately decorated room in the Ohio Judicial Center, the Courtroom is where the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court hear oral arguments.

Supreme Court Stairway to Civic Center Lobby

Civic Center Entrance

Civic Center Drive Lobby

Ohio's American Indian culture is depicted with bronze bas-reliefs of historic Ohio Indian leaders Logan, Little Turtle, Pontiac and Tecumseh. Mosaic tiles create patterns on the ceilings featuring Native American language symbols. There are also chevron etched lamp globes suspended from the ceiling with bows and arrows. The iron grills on the doors incorporate metal silhouettes of designs by the pre-historic Hopewell Indians and historic groups in the Northwest Territory.

Little Turtle