JUSTICE GARDEN PATH
“Justice Garden Path” is the front entry for the King County Regional Justice Center that is based upon: 1) the agricultural history of the Kent Valley; 2) the classical architectural context; 3) the importance of linking the Justice Center to the community; and 4) the healing powers of garden spaces. The framework of the garden is used as a means to ease the stresses inherent in the justice system. Prior to the commission, the community and design team were focused on creating a front entry where people would not be encouraged to linger. However, the artists wished to continue the long tradition of the courthouse lawn as a gathering place. With its metaphorical progression, “Justice Garden Path” creates a focus for the front entry. Weddings are now frequently held there.
The artwork consists of two intertwining paths, circular perennial gardens, trees, and a vine-covered pergola. The two pathways form a braid, linking this important civic center to the downtown Kent community. Reminiscent of a classical ornament called a “plait-band”, the pathways complement the formal architecture of the Regional Justice Center. The main brick path symbolizes the “tame” civilized side of human nature while the flagstone path represents the “wild,” individualistic side. The paths converge in a series of circular garden spaces that feature fragrant aromas and bursts of color and texture.
The pergola in the third circular garden space provides a link to the agricultural heritage of Kent. Fabricated from a series of bent poles, it is inspired by the once ubiquitous “hop poles” of the White River Valley. Some say the name “Kent” came from the founders’ vision for a hops culture in the valley that would rival the county of Kent in England. Golden hops are one of several types of vines that climb the pergola.
PROJECT CREDITS: Lorna Jordan, in collaboration with artist Paul Sorey & with assistance from Stenn Design
Commissioned by the King County Arts Commission