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Courthouses Win Architectural Awards

  • United States Courthouse Annex in Salt Lake City, Utah

    Completed in 2014, the United States Courthouse Annex in Salt Lake City, Utah, was designed to alleviate the overcrowding of the Frank E. Moss Courthouse. The GSA jurors appreciated the “daylight concept” at work in the modern, 10-story cubic annex; the interior of the building—including the actual courtrooms—is bathed in natural light. Furthermore, the team of GSA lauded the design team’s use of sunlight throughout the space in order to represent the necessity of transparency in the judicial system.

  • United States Courthouse in Los Angeles, Ca

    Recently opened in downtown Los Angeles, this U.S courthouse serves as the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Jurors for the GSA Design Awards praised the courthouse for its modern technology—such as an earthquake-proof structural system—incorporated into the building, as well as the sleekness and simplicity of its architecture.

  • United States Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Completed in 2012, the United States Courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, houses district, magistrate, and bankruptcy courts. Following the downtown Cedar Rapids flood in 2008, the designers of the stone, wood and glass courthouse opted to raise the site almost nine feet before commencing construction. They were lauded by the GSA’s jurors for their proactive response to such a disaster. The GSA also praised the building’s shape and structure—which are designed to portray the approachable and accessible nature of the federal justice system

  • Conrad B. Duberstein U.S Bankruptcy Courthouse in Brooklyn, NY

    The Conrad B. Duberstein U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse was once home to the Brooklyn Post Office. Beginning in 2009 and ending in 2014, the entire exterior of the building underwent a renovation that included the challenging restoration of the courthouse’s iconic 1930s-era terracotta and also more minor refurbishments like the replacing of wood windows and slate roofing. The jurors recognized the intense collaboration necessary among all parties for an undertaking of such magnitude.

  • Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S Courthouse in Indianapolis, IN

    Originally conceived in 1902 and named after a former Indiana senator, the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S Courthouse in Indianapolis was recently renovated in 2012. The building’s original mosaic ceilings, marble staircases and elaborate artwork were all carefully preserved throughout this process, winning the GSA courthouse awards in restoration and landmark preservation. 

  • Boston -  The John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse which was one of the GSA Award Design buildings for 2016

    Completed in 1999, the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse was praised by GSA jurors for the blend of past and present in its design. The building’s 10-story, L-shaped brick front faces the neighborhoods, while its modernistic conical glass wall faces the Boston inner harbor.

  • Las Vegas -  The Lloyd D. George Courthouse is included in the 2016 GSA Design Awards.

    Completed in 2000 on the fringe of downtown Las Vegas, the eight-story Lloyd D. George Courthouse received the GSA's 10-Year Award for its innovative design—notably the 175-foot column that supports the courthouse’s giant canopy—and its role as a public gathering space.

Seven U.S. courthouses are among the 17 federal buildings honored in this year’s General Services Administration Design Awards. Representing a mix of both modern and traditional architecture, these courthouses were honored based on a wide variety of criteria—ranging from functionality and public benefit to design and sustainability, as well as their aesthetic appeal.

For 25 years, the GSA Design Awards have celebrated the achievements of the architects, engineers, artists and designers who create the nation’s landmarks.

In addition, in 2016, GSA initiated a ten year award to recognize “how a great building becomes iconic over time.”

This year’s winners are Boston’s John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse and the Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse in Las Vegas. “Not only have they stood the test of time; these buildings look and feel better today than when they were brand-new,” GSA said in its Design Award program.

The program said: “Although they represent very different cities, climates, and neighborhoods, both have improved with age precisely because they were designed with an eye to long-term public benefit.

“The Moakley courthouse, on Fan Pier, catalyzed a wide-ranging neighborhood redevelopment that has bridged Boston and South Boston. The building reflects the traditions and aspirations of its home city, and has effected its transformation.

“Meanwhile, the design of the George courthouse takes no cues from the Las Vegas Strip, instead interpreting the strength of the United States justice system in a wholly modern way. This building expanded the possibilities of courthouse architecture in general, thereby turning the course of GSA’s Design Excellence Program. The jury lauds the George courthouse for engaging a different, more conceptual context, and for balancing that accomplishment with genuine concern for the urban sphere and people nearby.”

Related Topics: Courthouses