Friday, February 09, 2007

Mecklenburg's new courthouse

I hesitate to suggest the new Mecklenburg courthouse as a good place for newcomers or out-of-towners to visit.

After all, a center city should have plenty more exciting places to visit than a courthouse – and Charlotte does. (Please hold off on the sniping – I’ve written lots before about our uptown museums, restaurants, bars, festivals, the historic Fourth Ward neighborhood and other fun options).

But if you’re a local taxpayer, you helped shell out the $148 million for the place. And if you stop by next time you have free time uptown, you might like some of what you see.

Outside and inside the building at Fourth and McDowell streets, look for the quotes carved into the limestone and marble of the structure – they’re thought-provoking phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and other sources. I spent Friday’s dedication near pillars inscribed with "The rights of the individual" and "Power in the people vested."

And in the atrium is the kinetic artwork, "Persistence of Vision," recently detailed in my colleague Richard Maschal’s fascinating story. The moving work is made up of small sculptures of human heads – created from images of real local residents, and designed to reflect our diversity – suspended from the ceiling in a formation that moves to resemble a human face, then periodically dissipates. The best spot, of course, is to walk out directly under it and look up. (Check out the multimedia presentation on the artwork here).

Another good stop: Go up to the second floor and check out the exhibit on one wall of historic images depicting Mecklenburg’s eight previous courthouses, from 1766 to the present.

Those images make it evident that while this new courthouse isn’t Mecklenburg’s most picturesque or elegant, it is certainly one of its most imposing – and it sure looks good up against its immediate predecessors, the two virtually featureless boxes still standing nearby.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its about time you got a COURTHOUSE that has room and doent smell like a haystack; Now all we need is Lawyers /Judges and others who will not play favorites and have equal justice for everyone regardless of color, race , creed/religion or gender.. It seems like there are some more equal than others. Anywho I hope the Nifongs dont show up in this wonderful architechture and blacken the walls. It shouldnt matter who won what war , the People deserve a forum to present their beefs.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and dont subpeona this Yankee down there because your coffee will get ice cold waiting for me; You ll have to come and get me , ll the way tp OHio.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have diplomatic immunity from Southern Courtrooms ; I am from the North and your Laws down here dont pertain to us.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful building and artwork.
Too bad they can't actually put the criminals in jail.
Local good old boy network mentality is what I hear from lawyer friends. That's why nothing ever gets done in government or the law in Charlotte.
We need to vote out the bumpkins and vote in some candidates from big cities that have a clue on how to run the city Charlotte is becoming.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget that NY style pizza!

Shouldn't we be knocking down some nearby buildings? Haven't seen that in a while. We're going to need some more uptown condos.

10:02 AM  

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