SOM Breaks Ground on Los Angeles' Courthouse

SOM Breaks Ground on Los Angeles' Courthouse

Just eight months after being awarded the design-build contract with Clark Construction Group, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) has broke ground on the new, $318 million United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. This is a long-awaited achievement for the city of Los Angeles, as attempts have been made to construct a new courthouse since 2007. However, despite having to abandoned a $1.1 billion Perkins + Will proposal years ago, many believe this sustainable and more cost-effective design by SOM was worth the wait.

SOM’s competition-winning design, dubbed the “Cube,” 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.

At approximately 600,000 square feet, the 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.


Striving to achieve GSA Design Excellence, the target LEED Platinum courthouse’s serrated façade is designed to achieve a north to south orientation that will maximize daylight harvesting and views, while reducing the amount of energy needed to cool the building. 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.

"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."

Learn more about the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse’s design here on ArchDaily.

News via the GSA.

About this author
Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "SOM Breaks Ground on Los Angeles' Courthouse" 15 Aug 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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