New United States Courthouse - Los Angeles
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Owner: General Services Administration (GSA)
Location: Los Angeles
Project site: Brownfield
Building program type(s): Courthouse
The New United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles is a 10-story, 633,000-square-foot building that contains 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers. It houses the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, accommodates the U.S. Marshals Service, and provides trial preparation space for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Public Defender. Sustainability was a driving factor in the courthouse design from the beginning. It achieved LEED® Platinum certification, meets the GSA’s 2020 energy objective, and incorporates sustainable design features including a rooftop photovoltaic array and pleated façade that reduces the building’s annual radiation and central plant loads.
"We were impressed with the quality of the calm, light-filled interior spaces for occupants who are often in the courthouse under difficult circumstances." ~ Jury statement
The Los Angeles Federal Courthouse is a 633,000 Sq Ft facility for the General Services Administration located in downtown Los Angeles. The program includes 24 courtrooms, 32 judicial chambers and offices for the US Central District Courts of California, US Marshals Service, US Attorneys, Federal Protective Services, Federal Public Defender and the GSA. The project goals were established during the competition phase and included architectural excellence, timeless design, high sustainability, beautiful durable finishes, highly functional reliable systems, efficient layout of spaces, and bringing best value to the taxpayer. The client requirements mandated meeting the GSA 2020 energy target of 35 EUI to be verified through actual performance during the first year of operations. Decisions made by the project team addressed these objectives throughout the design process. To achieve an iconic civic identity, the building uses traditional architectural elements such as processional steps, grand public spaces and enduring natural materials. The cubic massing provides a clear identifiable form that strengthens the Civic Center core. The compact volume provides an efficient exterior wall to floor area ratio with the interior central light court acting as an organizational feature for optimizing circulation and wayfinding for the project’s complex program. Both passive and active sustainable strategies informed the design from the inception. Features include site orientation, massing optimization, responsive façade design, onsite photovoltaic power generation, displacement air delivery systems, radiant hydronic systems, dimming controls, demand control ventilation systems, water harvesting and extensive use of daylighting systems. Raising the cubic volume above the street level created a civic entry plaza allowing both visual and physical connections to the broader context of the Los Angeles Civic Center including the art deco inspired 1928 LA City Hall at its core. The ground plane design reinforces both pedestrian and public transportation networks while addressing the site topography.
"The innovative façade system is an elegant technical invention to harvest light and reflect heat. The resulting form distinguishes the building from its surroundings appropriately for such an important civic building." ~ Jury statement