This year will see the opening of New York’s 730,000-square-foot energy-efficient police academy complex by Perkins + Will. Joining it in the fall, Staten Island will welcome an elegant, cantilevered police station for the 121st precinct, by Rafael Viñoly Architects. And the same borough will soon cut the ribbon on a 184,000-square-foot, glass-walled courthouse from Ennead Architects.
Yet these gleaming projects, and others like them around the country, in many ways gloss over the reality of the justice sector of the architecture industry, which is struggling after being hit with a double whammy. Because of the recession, public funding has evaporated, designers say, and falling crime rates have meant fewer criminals, which in turn has decreased demand for new space.