The Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin Courthouse

Architect: NBBJ

Location: Stockton, CA

Awarded a publish

The 310,000-square-foot Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin Courthouse in Stockton makes justice visible and supports the revitalization of the downtown area.

As the tallest building in Stockton, the courthouse culminates with a striking rooftop form. When illuminated at night, the courthouse establishes a dramatic presence on the skyline. The result is a courthouse that conveys a sense of dignity and prominence to the people of Stockton, while making justice accessible to California's Central Valley residents as well. Recalling the classical language of courthouse design, the building is elevated on a stone base, where visitors entering the courthouse ascend a grand staircase to the entry portico. The architecture combines a traditional exterior cladding of white precast concrete that reflects the colors and character of downtown Stockton and its surrounding farmland, and features large walls of high performance glazing.

"The jury assembly terrace has a trellis, landscaping and stunning views of the context. The look of the courtroom is handsome, as is the crafted detailing of the bar. " ~ Jury comment

The 13-story building balances the image of a traditional courthouse with modern requirements of high-rise structures.  The courthouse creates a unique juror experience with the integration of a jury assembly space located on the twelfth floor of the tower. The space provides 360-degree views and access to a secure roof terrace, giving jurors access to daylight, fresh air, and a sense of connection to the outdoors typically unavailable in courthouses. Long-distance vistas and abundant daylight enhance the justice experience.

Almost every courtroom has access to natural light, through a series of clerestory windows that allow daylight in while maintaining visual security. An integrated design process led to a healthier atmosphere for employees, visitors, and the environment through sustainable features such as high-performance glazing, reduced air infiltration levels, exterior shading to reduce heat gain, low-flow plumbing, and low-maintenance plants. The project is on track to achieve LEED Gold.

Additional information

Acoustics: Newsom Brown

Architecture: NBBJ


Blast: Hinman Consulting Engineers

Building Maintenance: Olympique

Civil: Psomas

Code: Jensen Hughes

Court Planning: Jay Farbstein Associates

Elevators: Lerch Bates

Env. Graphic Design: NBBJ

Exterior Envelope: Thornton Tomasetti

Geotechnical: ENGEO

Hardware: TransTech

Landscape: Pamela Burton Associates

Lighting: NBBJ

MEP: Stantec

Radio: Hatfield & Dawson

Structural: Thornton Tomasetti

Survey: Psomas

Telecom: AVS

Water Feature: STO

Waterproofing: Morrison Hirschfield


Mallory Scott Cusenbery, AIA (Chair), RossDrulisCusenbery, Sonoma, California

Hon. Celeste F. Bremer, United States District Court | Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

Michael Cox, AIA, Wold Architects and Engineers, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Julian Jaffary, B.Arch, OAA, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thomas Pulaski, Prince William County Police Department, Woodbridge, Virginia

Arthur Thompson, AIA, SMRT, Portland, Maine

Charles W. Wend, Mount Vernon, Washington

Image credits

Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin

Sean Airhart


Sean Airhart


Sean Airhart


Sean Airhart


Sean Airhart