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GSA, Courts Host Ribbon Cutting for the New U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles

Facility Resolves Judiciary’s Long-standing Security and Space Needs

October 13, 2016

LOS ANGELES— Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. District Court, Central District of California and federal, state, and local leaders celebrated the completion of a new sustainable and cost-effective federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. The new U.S. Courthouse, located at 350 W. 1st Street, is now 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. The 10-story, 633,000-square-foot facility features 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers and provides the necessary space for the Los Angeles district court and the public it serves.

“This building demonstrates our agency’s commitment to supporting our federal partners while also helping drive community prosperity. GSA leverages the federal presence in localities to maximize municipal and regional economic development, while promoting competition and getting better outcomes for the federal government,” said GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. “This courthouse project took advantage of favorable market conditions; recognized substantial savings for taxpayers; created jobs and delivered a state-of-the-art courthouse that embodies the principles and ideals of our democracy, which I know Californians and all Americans will be proud of.”

The courthouse was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and constructed by Clark Construction Group-California LP under GSA's Design Excellence Program which provides advocacy for quality in the federal built environment and incorporates the best architectural practices and latest sustainable technologies. The design is rooted in classic principles, sustainable strategies and a contemporary spirit. Its contemporary in form and materials, yet embraces the principles of archetypal federal architecture.

"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."

Due to its location, seismic design was a key consideration when it came to the structural engineering of the building. The design also includes an innovative structural engineering concept that allows the cubic courthouse volume to appear to float over its stone base while being one of the Nation’s safest buildings.
The courthouse’s serrated façade was designed to achieve 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 that is expected to generate 525,000 kWh each year (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 will help the building meet its energy and water conservation goals. With these and other sustainability features, the new courthouse will not only conserve critical resources and protect our environment, but also realize energy cost savings for years to come.

“GSA is committed to designing and constructing world-class, environmentally responsible buildings in which the federal government conducts business safely and serves the public effectively,” said Dan Brown, GSA’s Pacific Rim Regional Commissioner for Public Buildings Service. “This new courthouse is not only a beautiful gleaming addition to our respected Design Excellence buildings portfolio and the Los Angeles skyline, but its design also seamlessly integrates components of energy efficiency, outstanding court and jury facilities, and engaging public spaces.”

“The Court looks forward to serving the cause of justice in the new First Street Courthouse in Los Angeles, which will provide an inspiring and secure setting for the public and all who come before us,” said Chief Judge Virginia Phillips, U.S. District Court, Central District of California. “The long-anticipated opening of the Courthouse is the result of decades of tireless work by many of our judges and court staff, and we are especially indebted to United States District Judges Margaret M. Morrow (ret.) and the late W. Matthew Byrne for their vision, dedication and leadership.”

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.

Speakers at the celebration event included: Rep. Xavier Becerra; Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard; Chief Judge Virginia Phillips, U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar; Norman Dong, GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner; Nicolas Rodriquez, Field Director for Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, Office of Senator Barbara Boxer; Craig Hartman, Senior Consulting Design Partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; and Marc Kersey, Senior Vice President, Clark Construction Group-California LP.

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