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August 2007

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Federal Courthouses Recognized by AIA

Three federal courthouses have been selected to receive citations for architectural and design excellence from the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Justice in 2007. According to AIA, six representatives from the justice, architecture, and government sectors reviewed newly built facilities that ranged from courthouses to forensic laboratories to maximum security prisons. The cited projects “demonstrate quality of form, functionality, and current architectural responses to complex justice design issues.”

The three federal courthouses are:

Davenport U.S. Courthouse Renovation,
Davenport, Iowa
Southern District of Iowa

Architect’s Statement

The mission of this project was to restore, renovate, and convert a treasured National Register multiple-tenant federal building and courthouse into an expanded U.S. courts dedicated facility. Continued criminal caseload growth, poor inmate transportation and security, insufficient space to expand court operations, and an aging infrastructure rendered the historical building inadequate. The program included upgrading and restoring the historic courtroom; adding two new courtrooms, support space, and three new judges’ chambers; expanding court-related offices; and adding new prisoner holding facilities and new secure judges’ parking. The design removes previous renovations, exposes and restores significant original interior features, and introduces a textured glass wall paralleling the original public lobby beyond which two new courtrooms and support space are inserted. The courthouse renovation preserves and restores key historic interior features; provides a high level of functionality; responds to separation of public, restricted, and secure circulation; and gives contemporary interior treatment to space outside those identified for restoration.

Architect of record: Downing Architects, Bettendorf, Iowa

Design architect: Leonard Parker Associates (part of the Durrant Group), Minneapolis

Managing architect: The Durrant Group, Hartland, Wisconsin Photographer: Don Wong Photo Inc., Bloomington, Minneapolis


Wayne Lyman Morse U.S. Courthouse,
Eugene, Oregon
District of Oregon

Architect’s Statement

The Wayne Lyman Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, serves the District of Oregon as part of the Ninth Circuit. The fouracre site is the previous home of the Agripac cannery plant and is regarded by the city as an impetus for redeveloping the surrounding area with civic and commercial development. Rising 72 feet high, the 2,641-square-foot courthouse has five stories above grade and one level of below-grade parking. The first two floors hold offices for the courts, the U.S. Attorney, probation and pretrial services, the U.S. Marshals Service, the General Services Administration, two U.S. senators, and one member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The building’s six courtrooms, all on the third floor, are paired by their purpose: two district, two magistrate, and two bankruptcy courtrooms. Above the courtroom level there are six judges’ chambers, one visiting judges’ chamber, and two separate judicial library spaces.

Architect: DLR Group, Portland, Ore.

Design architect: Morphosis, Santa Monica, California

Photographer: Tim Griffith, San Francisco



Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Federal Courthouse,
Miami, Florida
Southern District of Florida

Architect’s Statement
The building is composed of three elements: two opposing towers and a glass “crystal” that mediates. There are four courtrooms on each of the upper floors, grouped around a central circulation space punctured by a cone-shaped atrium. The east and west façades are composed of alternating concave and convex curtain wall “bay” windows surrounded by precast stone frames. The alternating rhythms, depths, and colors of the horizontal and vertical sunshades frame blue-green tinted glass. The primary material for the north and south façade of the tower is the same precast stone used to frame the curtain wall, providing solidity to the elevations. The monumental windows are arranged horizontally and vertically, each orientation and fenestration unique, reflecting the hierarchy between office space and courtroom functions. The architecture is meant to reflect the importance of what goes on inside making the building a recognizable icon both day and night.

Architect: Arquitectonica, Miami, Florida

Associate architect: Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum Inc., Miami, Florida

Photographers: Robin Hill and Norman McGrath, Miami, Florida

The AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) promotes and fosters the exchange of information and knowledge between members, professional organizations, and the public for high-quality planning, design, and delivery of justice architecture. In total, eight projects were selected by AAJ for citations. For additional information on the AAJ projects visit http://www.aia.org/caj_nwsltr_current.