On Thursday, October 13th, representatives from SOM, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. District Court, and the Central District of California will join federal, state and local leaders at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion and official opening of Los Angeles’s new federal courthouse, located at 350 W. 1st Street in the city’s downtown civic core.
The 10-story, 633,000-square-foot facility, designed by SOM and constructed by Clark Construction Group, is home to the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Marshals Service, and GSA, and provides trial preparation space for the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Public Defender. It features 24 courtrooms, 32 judicial chambers, and space necessary for the Los Angeles District Court and the public it serves.
"America’s civic buildings offer a permanent record of our democracy’s values, challenges and aspirations," said Craig Hartman, FAIA, Senior Consulting Design Partner with SOM. "The great challenge in the design of a 21st-century federal courthouse is creating a work of architecture that authentically represents the fair and impartial rule of law in our contemporary civil society. It has been my great privilege to work with an extraordinarily gifted team of architects, builders, judges, and members of the GSA in creating a building that embodies that important work through Euclidean clarity, transparency, lightness, luminosity, and timeless materials."
The project is part of GSA's Design Excellence Program, which advocates for quality in the design of federal buildings and incorporates the best architectural practices and latest sustainable technologies. The new facility is contemporary in form and materials, yet embraces principles of archetypal federal architecture.
The design includes an innovative structural engineering concept that allows the cubic courthouse volume to appear to float above its stone base, while simultaneously being one of the nation’s safest buildings. Due to its location, seismic design is also a key consideration for the structural engineering of the building.
The courthouse’s serrated facade has a north-to-south orientation that maximizes daylight penetration and views while reducing the amount of energy needed to cool the building. The facility uses a roof-mounted solar panel array to generate approximately 525,000 kWh each year (equivalent to the amount of energy used by 54 homes in one year). Additionally, the high-efficiency building systems, 105,000 gallon cistern, water-efficient fixtures, and advanced irrigation systems help the building meet its energy and water conservation goals.
The completion of this new courthouse is the first major step in GSA’s three-pronged approach to achieving an enhanced and efficient footprint for the U.S. District Courts in Los Angeles, and consolidates many of the functions that were previously divided across multiple buildings.
About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with an 80-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.