New United States Courthouse – Los Angeles

LA Courthouse
LA Courthouse
LA Courthouse

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2016
  • Design Finish Year 2014
  • Size Site Area: 138,000 square feet Building Height: 220 feet Number of Stories: 10 Building Gross Area: 633,000 square feet
  • Energy Savings 31 kbtu
  • Water Savings 26 gallons
  • Awards
    2019, Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, Award of Merit, American Society Of Civil Engineers 2017, Honor Award, AIA California 2017, Merit Award, AIA San Francisco 2017, Honor Award, AIA – Los Angeles Chapter 2014, Green Good Design Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2013, Next LA Merit Award, AIA – Los Angeles Chapter 2015, Under Construction Award, Los Angeles Business Council 2013, Civic Award, Southern California Development Forum 2018, National Honor Award for Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2018, Top Ten Award, AIA – Committee on the Environment (COTE) 2015, Space:Spark!, Spark Awards 2016, Design Award: On the Boards, Honor Award, General Services Administration 2017, Downtowners of Distinction, Project of the Year, LA Downtown News 2017, Commercial Real Estate Awards, Best Sustainable Project: Gold Award, Los Angeles Business Journal 2017, National Award of Merit for Federal, State, and County Municipal, Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) 2017, Award of Excellence: New Construction, Structural Engineers Association of Southern California 2017, Civic Buildings Award, Los Angeles Business Council 2017, Grand Prize, Los Angeles Business Council 2017, Project of the Year, Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Western Pacific Region (WPA) 2017, Westside Prize, Public/Institutional Honor Award, Westside Urban Forum 2017, Gold Award, Building Team Awards, Building Design + Construction 2017, Downtown’s Rose Garden Award, The Downtown Breakfast Club 2017, ENR California Region, Best Project Southern California, Engineering News Record 2017, COTE Honor Award, AIA – Los Angeles Chapter 2017, Sustainable Innovation Award - Energy & Atmosphere Honor, US Green Building Council - Los Angeles 2017, Best of Design Award – Winner: Facade, Architect'S Newspaper 2017, Best of Design Award – Honorable Mention: Civic–Administrative, Architect'S Newspaper 2017, Best of Design Award – Honorable Mention: Green–Civic, Architect'S Newspaper 2017, Best Daylighting Project, Professional Lighting Design Recognition 2018, Best of the Best Government/Public Building Project, Engineering News Record 2018, Engineering Excellence Honor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC California) 2017, California Constructor Award - Excellence in Project Management - Finalist, Associated General Contractors of America 2017, Excellence in Construction Management - Project of the Year, Construction Management Association of America 2018, Award of Excellence, International Association of Lighting Designers 2018, Municipal Green Building Conference & Expo Award, US Green Building Council - Los Angeles 2018, A+ Award Finalist: Government & Municipal Buildings, Architizer 2018, Publication Award, AIA - Justice Facilities Review 2018, The Outstanding Building of the Year Award (TOBY), Public Assembly, The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) 2019, National Honor Award for Interior Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED ND Platinum, ND, Platinum
  • Collaborators
    Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design (HLB) Mia Lehrer + Associates Newson Brown Acoustics AECOM Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. - Los Angeles Lerch Bates Cini-Little International, Inc. - Pasadena Applied Research Associates, Inc. Haley & Aldrich Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. - New York South Coast Engineering Group Dyal And Partners Aa Architecture Interior Planning Rolf Jensen & Associates PSOMAS Clark Construction Group, LLC
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2016
  • Design Finish Year 2014
  • Size Site Area: 138,000 square feet Building Height: 220 feet Number of Stories: 10 Building Gross Area: 633,000 square feet
  • Energy Savings 31 kbtu
  • Water Savings 26 gallons
  • Awards
    2019, Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, Award of Merit, American Society Of Civil Engineers 2017, Honor Award, AIA California 2017, Merit Award, AIA San Francisco 2017, Honor Award, AIA – Los Angeles Chapter 2014, Green Good Design Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2013, Next LA Merit Award, AIA – Los Angeles Chapter 2015, Under Construction Award, Los Angeles Business Council 2013, Civic Award, Southern California Development Forum 2018, National Honor Award for Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2018, Top Ten Award, AIA – Committee on the Environment (COTE) 2015, Space:Spark!, Spark Awards 2016, Design Award: On the Boards, Honor Award, General Services Administration 2017, Downtowners of Distinction, Project of the Year, LA Downtown News 2017, Commercial Real Estate Awards, Best Sustainable Project: Gold Award, Los Angeles Business Journal 2017, National Award of Merit for Federal, State, and County Municipal, Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) 2017, Award of Excellence: New Construction, Structural Engineers Association of Southern California 2017, Civic Buildings Award, Los Angeles Business Council 2017, Grand Prize, Los Angeles Business Council 2017, Project of the Year, Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Western Pacific Region (WPA) 2017, Westside Prize, Public/Institutional Honor Award, Westside Urban Forum 2017, Gold Award, Building Team Awards, Building Design + Construction 2017, Downtown’s Rose Garden Award, The Downtown Breakfast Club 2017, ENR California Region, Best Project Southern California, Engineering News Record 2017, COTE Honor Award, AIA – Los Angeles Chapter 2017, Sustainable Innovation Award - Energy & Atmosphere Honor, US Green Building Council - Los Angeles 2017, Best of Design Award – Winner: Facade, Architect'S Newspaper 2017, Best of Design Award – Honorable Mention: Civic–Administrative, Architect'S Newspaper 2017, Best of Design Award – Honorable Mention: Green–Civic, Architect'S Newspaper 2017, Best Daylighting Project, Professional Lighting Design Recognition 2018, Best of the Best Government/Public Building Project, Engineering News Record 2018, Engineering Excellence Honor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies of California (ACEC California) 2017, California Constructor Award - Excellence in Project Management - Finalist, Associated General Contractors of America 2017, Excellence in Construction Management - Project of the Year, Construction Management Association of America 2018, Award of Excellence, International Association of Lighting Designers 2018, Municipal Green Building Conference & Expo Award, US Green Building Council - Los Angeles 2018, A+ Award Finalist: Government & Municipal Buildings, Architizer 2018, Publication Award, AIA - Justice Facilities Review 2018, The Outstanding Building of the Year Award (TOBY), Public Assembly, The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) 2019, National Honor Award for Interior Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED ND Platinum, ND, Platinum
  • Collaborators
    Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design (HLB) Mia Lehrer + Associates Newson Brown Acoustics AECOM Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. - Los Angeles Lerch Bates Cini-Little International, Inc. - Pasadena Applied Research Associates, Inc. Haley & Aldrich Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. - New York South Coast Engineering Group Dyal And Partners Aa Architecture Interior Planning Rolf Jensen & Associates PSOMAS Clark Construction Group, LLC

The design of the new United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles is both modern in spirit and rooted in classic principles of federal architecture. It uses traditional architectural elements such as processional steps, grand public spaces, and enduring materials like limestone to achieve a strong civic identity. Envisioned as a “floating” cube, the building employs an innovative structural engineering concept that cantilevers the glass volume above its stone base, making the courthouse contemporary in material, technology, and form.

Located on a prominent block in the city’s Civic Center neighborhood, the 10-story, 633,000-square-foot building contains 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers. It houses the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, accommodates the needs of 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 for the courthouse from the beginning. It achieved LEED® Platinum certification and meets the GSA’s 2020 energy objective. The building incorporates a variety of sustainable design features, including a rooftop photovoltaic array that is intended to generate 507,000 kWh of renewable energy on an annual basis.

Perhaps the most visible sustainable design feature is the facade—a solution that gracefully responds to the conditions of the site. A key challenge for the design team was to manage intense sun exposure from the east and west while maintaining the building’s alignment with the street grid. SOM’s pleated facade design incorporates opaque panels in east- and west-facing pleats to minimize solar thermal gain. At the same time, the design utilizes transparent glass panels in north- and south-facing pleats to maximize natural daylight inside the courthouse. This design reduces annual solar radiation load by 47 percent, and decreases central plant load by 9 percent.

The courthouse design also mitigates blast threats by using a novel truss system to increase the standoff between the perimeter and primary structure, while still allowing the cube to appear as a single, hovering form. To protect against seismic events and control the building’s lateral drift, the roof truss is used as a mega link beam that connects the reinforced concrete shear walls at the top story and reduces ductility demands.