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August 2009

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


GSA Design Awards Go To Six Federal Courthouses

The winners of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) biennial design, art, and construction excellence awards were announced this past spring, during the 15th anniversary of the agency’s Design Excellence Program. Acting GSA Administrator Paul Prouty called the award recipients “the best of the best” federal projects designed and constructed by GSA. Six federal courthouses were among the winners.

An independent 11-member jury that included landscape architects, graphic designers, historic preservationists, artists, and engineers selected the winners.

“In reviewing the many fine projects submitted, the jury looked for examples of integrated work-work that reflected not simply exceptional architecture or sustainability or construction but married design, art, and construction. These are true examples of design excellence and the foundation for creating long-term value,” the jury noted.

The jury strongly supported and praised GSA’s commitment to collaboration between artist and architect in integrating art into the fabric of the building through the Art in Architecture Program. The jury was particularly impressed with the exemplary design of the Wayne Lyman Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, which it described as “a model of integration.”

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

Architect: Morphosis, Santa Monica, California
Honor Award: Architecture
Honor Award: Art in Architecture
Honor Award: Construction Excellence
Citation: Signage

“...Here the courtrooms are the iconic elements, located in articulated pavilions that float above a two-story, glass-enclosed plinth housing office and administrative space. Their curvilinear forms refer to the fluid nature of the American judicial system-a system designed to remain flexible through ongoing challenge and reinterpretation.” /Jury

U.S. Courthouse, Springfield, Massachusetts

Architect: Moshe Safdie and Associates,
Somerville, Massachusetts
Citation: Architecture

“In addition to serving its judicial and governmental functions, the courthouse is a catalyst for change, transforming a blighted urban site and anchoring ongoing redevelopment. Seen from the important thoroughfare, the courthouse forms a spiraling crescent around two historic trees-a copper beech and a linden, both believed to pre-date the formation of the Union.” /Jury

U.S. Courthouse, Alpine, Texas

Architect: Pagesoutherlandpage, LLP, Austin, Texas
Citation: Lease Construction

“This project excelled, particularly in the difficult design category of lease construction. In tiny, remote Alpine, Texas, it demonstrates the democratic nature of our government building design. It responds to its time and place, sets beautifully within the landscape, and reflects the local culture, climate, and building technologies.” /Jury

U.S. Courthouse, Austin, Texas

Architect: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects,
Atlanta, Georgia
Citation: Architecture/On the Boards

“This 230,000-square-foot courthouse in downtown Austin will occupy a full city block directly west of Republic Square Park, a historic square that was reclaimed as a civic space in the 1970s. The square block suggested the building’s configuration as a compact, cube-like form whose stability exemplifies the strength, coherence, and dignity of the judicial system.” /Jury

U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, Brooklyn, New York

Architect: Kliment Halsband Architects,
New York, New York
Honor Award: Preservation

“A ten-year restoration effort has returned this beloved landmark to its vital role in the civic life of downtown Brooklyn. In the process, the historic structure-comprising the original 1892 courthouse and a 1933 addition-was rescued from severe deterioration and sensitively adapted and enlarged for use by the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Trustee.” /Jury

Byron G. Rogers U.S. Courthouse, Denver, Colorado

Architect: Wagner & Grody Architects, Denver, Colorado
Citation: Modernization

“Constructed in 1965, the five-story U.S. courthouse and 18-story federal office building are notable icons in downtown Denver. In 2002, GSA initiated a four-year design and construction process to modernize this tired, but sturdy, structure. A comprehensive interior renovation was planned and executed-encompassing 248,000 square feet of space and including careful integration of sustainable design features that ultimately achieved LEED Silver certification.” /Jury