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GSA Breaks Ground on Los Angeles' New Sustainable Courthouse

August 8, 2013

Facility will resolve Judiciary’s long-standing security and space needs

August 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES—Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. District Court, and federal and local leaders officially broke ground on a new sustainable, secure, and cost-effective United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. The approximately 600,000-gross-square-foot facility will include 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers and will house the U.S. District Court, Central District of California; meet related needs of the U.S. Marshals Service; and provide trial preparation space for the U.S. Attorneys’ Office and the Federal Public Defender.

“We are extremely excited to begin construction on this new courthouse,” said Ruth Cox, GSA’s Pacific Rim Regional Administrator. “Today’s event is a major step forward in fulfilling our obligation to the Judiciary for a new courthouse that addresses their long-standing security and space needs in Los Angeles.”

GSA awarded a design-build contract to Clark Construction Group and design partner Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP (SOM) in December 2012. Their design, referred to as the “Cube” because of its shape, is a modern interpretation of classic tripartite design; that of base, body and cornice. It 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 shape of this courthouse, through its simplicity and luminous, Euclidean clarity, will define its role as an important and timeless civic addition to Los Angeles’ governmental precinct,” said Craig Hartman, Design Partner for SOM. “Its gardens, courtyards and civic plaza – accessible to all – will convey a generous sense of public-spiritedness. Equally important, its high performance design responds directly the crisis of 21st century resource depletion and related environmental challenges.”

Striving to achieve GSA Design Excellence and create a high performance green building, the Clark/SOM team incorporated a number of sustainable principles into the project. The courthouse’s serrated façade is designed to achieve a north to south orientation that will maximize daylight harvesting and views, while reducing solar heat gain by 47 percent. The facility will boast a 225 kW combined cooling, heating and power system, and a 400 kW roof-mounted photovoltaic array that will produce 525,000 kWh annually. Additionally, the high efficiency building systems, 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.

This target LEED® Platinum courthouse uniquely responds to its downtown location and will join a neighborhood of important, modern Los Angeles buildings, such as the Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Cathedral, Caltrans and Los Angeles Police Department, while simultaneously joining a respected portfolio of GSA Design Excellence buildings.

The new U.S. Courthouse project will not only contribute to the ongoing revival of the Civic Center, it will also help boost the city’s economy by creating new jobs in the construction industry and providing vast opportunities for local small businesses. With a subcontracting outreach event planned for August 15, 2013, the team is striving to achieve an aggressive 52 percent small business subcontracting goal.

"I'm happy to see construction beginning on the new Los Angeles Federal Courthouse," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Our federal court is among the busiest in the country, and we are greatly in need of a new courthouse. This project will create thousands of jobs and turn an empty lot into an important part of the Civic Center cityscape."

Speakers at the groundbreaking included: Ruth Cox, GSA Pacific Rim Regional Administrator; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard; Chief Judge George King, U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Judge Margaret Morrow, U.S. District Court, Central District of California; Richard Heim, President and CEO, Clark Construction Group/California; and Craig Hartman, Design Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP.

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13