Philadelphia Equal Justice Center

Wallace Roberts & Todd, firm: Jared Edgar McKnight, Assoc. AIA. Joseph W. Healy, AIA, Modesto Bigas, AIA, Matt Beuke, AIA, and Keiko Tsuruta Cramer

Designing for equity is at the core of the Equal Justice Center's vision, carefully balancing a civic mission to raise the visibility of access to justice issues, and a personal mission to offer a judgement-free zone for those seeking aid.

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is working closely with its nonprofit partners to realize the vision of the Equal Justice Center (EJC). The first of its kind in the country, the 180,000sf EJC will co-locate twelve legal aid organizations and foster opportunities to strengthen their client services, setting a new national standard for inter-agency collaboration and operational efficiency for the provision of free legal services. The EJC will serve as the cornerstone of a larger mixed-use sustainable redevelopment, integrating civic, residential, and public open space to transform a key urban site in Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s deep and chronic poverty continues to be our city’s most formidable challenge. With essential legal and social services currently spread across the city's limits, those with limited financial resources often face the daunting task of identifying where to go to take the first step. The concept of the EJC solves that. Aspiring to amplify the collective voice of social justice, the EJC seeks to enhance client experiences, promote pro-bono opportunities in the legal community, and encourage meaningful collaboration, dialogue, and research. In total, the economic and social impact of this nonprofit center is expected to exceed $200 million per year, benefiting thousands in the Philadelphia community.


Geraldene Blackgoat, Assoc. AIA, Greer Stafford/ SJCF Architecture, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Jennie Cannon West, AIA, Studio West Design & Architecture, New Orleans, Louisiana

Javier Fornaris Pau, AIA, OBMI Architecture, Miami, Florida

Image credits

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