The renovation of the DC Appeals Courthouse [http://www.dcappeals.gov/dccourts/appeals/pdf/appeals_renovation_expansion.pdf] is an impressive example of how a modern component can blend with a faithful renovation of an historic structure. Originally designed in 1820 by George Hadfield to be DC’s City Hall, the courthouse is one of the oldest public buildings in the District of Columbia. Located in historic Judiciary Square between the White House and the US Capital, the Neo-Classical structure had been vacant for 10 years. Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners completed the renovation in 2009.
The rehab project includes a new plaza and entrance pavilion on the north side to reorient the building to Judiciary Square. The steel and glass pavilion spans the center bay of the north façade, rising two stories while leaving third-story windows unobstructed. The appropriately scaled feature is transparent, allowing full view of the building and of the adjoining square.
Transforming the nearly 200-year-old structure into a modern courthouse required updates of numerous systems and expanded space while preserving the integrity of the original design. The biggest engineering challenge was excavation of a new ceremonial courtroom beneath the grand south-side portico.
The project has won numerous accolades including a Preservation Citation in the General Services Administration’s 2010 Design Awards.