New United States Courthouse

New United States Courthouse

Architect
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA | View Map
Project Year
2016
Category
Courthouses
Stories By
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

CRL
© Bruce Damonte
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
ManufacturersMosa
Resilient flooringForbo Flooring Systems
ManufacturersHIMACS - LX HAUSYS EUROPE GMBH
ManufacturersBEGA
ManufacturersCrossville
ManufacturersCRL

Product Spec Sheet
Manufacturers
by Mosa
Resilient flooring
Manufacturers
by BEGA
Manufacturers
Manufacturers
by CRL

New United States Courthouse

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as Architects

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.

photo_credit © Bruce Damonte
© Bruce Damonte

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.

photo_credit © Bruce Damonte
© Bruce Damonte

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.

photo_credit © Bruce Damonte
© Bruce Damonte

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.

photo_credit © GSA | David Lena
© GSA | David Lena

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.

photo_credit © Bruce Damonte
© Bruce Damonte

 

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United States Courthouse In Los Angeles

CRL as Manufacturers

The new United States Courthouse in Los Angeles is a 10-story, 633,000-square-foot facility containing 24 courtrooms and 32 justice chambers. The state-of-the-art structure features a distinct cube-shaped design with a serrated glass and aluminum facade that adds aesthetic depth, while effectively mitigating solar heat gain.


SOM Architecture designed the courthouse to achieve LEED Platinum certification; as such, energy efficiency and natural light diffusion were a top priority. This is evident in the monumental skylight that redirects sunlight to the grand atrium at the structure’s core using strategically placed reflectors.

Caption

 

To help circulate light into the building’s interior spaces, all-glass glazing systems were utilized, including over 2500 linear feet of custom TAPER-LOC® L21S Glass Railing from CRL. Golden Glass installed the system on stairways, walkways, and on floor ledges which overlook the atrium below.

Developed for use with laminated tempered glass, the TAPER-LOC® L21S Glass Railing System’s frameless profile delivers all-glass visuals that improve light diffusion, creating open and vibrant spaces. This aligned with SOM Architecture’s design intent of reducing dependency on artificial lighting. The system also increases safety and is engineered to meet new IBC code requirements.

Caption

 

Because of the courthouse’s centralized location in bustling Downtown Los Angeles, contractors faced strict construction schedules. The TAPER-LOC® L21S Glass Railing System can reduce installation time by more than 50% compared to wet-glaze systems. A precision torque tool simplifies glass adjustment, further expediting the installation process in order to meet tight schedules.

The United States Courthouse in Los Angeles is driven by sustainability. With all-glass aesthetics, the TAPER-LOC® L21S Glass Railing System helps optimize the flow of daylight to reduce energy consumption while promoting an open, collaborative environment.

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