SOM Wins Bid to Design Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

Image courtesy of the GSA.

The GSA has announced that Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill have been selected as the architects of the new Federal Courthouse, which will house the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The architects beat out 3 other shortlisted teams to win the $318 million project.

According to the GSA, ”The new 550,000-square-foot building will be a sustainable, cost-effective, state-of-the-art court facility that includes security upgrades that are not available in the current 312 North Spring Street courthouse.”

The site, located at 107 South Broadway (down the street from Morphosis’ Caltrans building, ’s City Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall) has been dormant since 2007; although a $1.1 billion design by Perkins + Will was selected soon after, it was abandoned when Congress slashed the GSA’s construction budget. The GSA considers the approval of the new redevelopment plan a “major milestone.”

More info and images, after the break…

Image courtesy of the GSA.

“We are moving toward the groundbreaking of a critically needed facility that will resolve long-standing security and space issues,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles) told the Los Angeles Times. “At a time when we need to keep investing in our recovering economy, we expect the courthouse to create thousands of new jobs in the construction industry and related businesses.”

Construction is tentatively scheduled for fall 2013, with completion anticipated in 2016.

Image courtesy of the GSA.

The GSA also released a request to developers to supply “potential strategies” for the adaptive reuse of the 72-year old Spring Street Courthouse. The request is consistent with the agency’s new strategy to consolidate Federal agencies (and thus reduce its real estate footprint and save taxpayer money) by working with the private sector (to either reuse or exchange outdated properties for new ones). Under the plan, the proceeds from the sale of the old courthouse would help finance construction of a second federal office building adjacent to the new courthouse. The deadline for responses is February 11, 2013.

Story via the GSA, Los Angeles Times, and ENR Construction 

Image courtesy of the GSA.
The Courthouse Site in Los Angeles – Image courtesy of Google Maps
Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "SOM Wins Bid to Design Los Angeles Federal Courthouse" 12 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +9

    Blah? Why, because at least some of the buildings systems (enclosure, spatial organization, site planning) seem to be schematically executed in a somewhat successful manner? Why, because the individual elements of the structure and the facade are rendered competently and essentially recognizeable for what they are? Why, because you can look at the images and recognize the object depicted as an actual building and not a bedazzled UFO that has crash landed into the urban fabric with no concern for context? Yes, more precious interdimensional superstructures by Gehry and Zaha and Libeskind that is what the world needs!

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      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    “…a request to developers to supply “potential strategies” for the adaptive reuse of the 72-year old Spring Street Courthouse.”
    Perhaps a new homeless shelter to coincide with California’s recent ‘dial 311′ initiative.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Shockingly bad. Although, in its own way, it’s sort of a good metaphor for the LA justice system, from the LAPD on up. Really, just shockingly horrible, and shamelessly so.

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