flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Justice league: United States courthouse

Building Team Awards

Justice league: United States courthouse

Gold Award: The Building Team for L.A.’s newest courthouse went way beyond what was expected.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | June 7, 2017

The Building Team made extensive use of mockups to sort out interior details and materials. Bruce Damonte Photography.

This cube-like, 10-story, 240-foot-tall tower seems to hover over the ground as if it were a sculpture on a pedestal. The Building Team created this floating effect with a cantilevered perimeter consisting of 24 columns, each 42 inches in diameter, supported by a 600-ton truss system nine stories above. 

The design-build process facilitated this effort by involving the construction team early in the design phase. For example, those meetings came up with a practical truss scheme inspired by the concentric properties of a wagon wheel. 

Consistent owner and Building Team collaboration on this project included a formal partnering program, facilitated by a third-party consultant. Seven full-day workshops were held over the course of the project, at which team members established shared expectations and objectives.


A 600-ton truss system above supports the tower’s cantilevered perimeter, and helped the Building Team create the effect that the cube-shaped building is floating above the ground. Bruce Damonte Photography.


To keep the project on budget without a loss of quality, the Building Team made extensive use of functional mockups to review finishing materials, details, and lighting throughout the facility’s 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers. Other procedures led to innovative value-engineering solutions, such as using soil-cement columns instead of deep foundations. 

The owner wanted to reduce the project’s annual energy outcome to 35 kBtu/sf, from the original goal of 47 kBtu/sf. That effort, dubbed “Drive for 35,” led to a six-week brainstorming session. To ensure team members were vested in the outcome, Clark, SOM, Syska, and the major MEP subs agreed to share the risk of payment for this work by tying the goal to contractually guaranteed performance.


Building Team — Submitting firm, general contractor Clark Construction Group–California Owner, developer General Services Administration Architect, structural engineer Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Mechanical/electrical engineer Syska Hennessy Group Plumbing engineer South Coast Engineering Group Construction manager Jacobs

General Information — Size 633,000 sf Cost $343 million Construction time January 2013 to August 2016 Delivery method Design-build


Return to the 2017 Building Team Awards landing page

Related Stories

| Aug 29, 2022

Montana becomes first U.S. state to approve 3D printing in construction

Montana is the first U.S. state to give broad regulatory approval for 3D printing in building construction.

Architects | Apr 22, 2022

Top 10 green building projects for 2022

The American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its COTE Top Ten Awards for significant achievements in advancing climate action.

Concrete Technology | Apr 19, 2022

SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center achieves ISO 17025 accreditation for concrete testing procedures

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s (SGH) Applied Science & Research Center recently received ISO/IEC17025 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) for several concrete testing methods.

2021 Building Team Awards | Jan 14, 2022

First public-private partnership project in Veterans Administration history saves $34 million in costs

LEO A DALY and McCarthy Building Companies head the project team for the Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center in BD+C’s 2021 Building Team Awards.

Building Team Awards | Dec 8, 2021

A performing arts center celebrates a legendary rocker and his birthplace

Buddy Holly Hall in Texas receives BD+C’s Silver Building Team Award.

Building Team Awards | Dec 7, 2021

A rapid response to a health emergency

Baptist Hospital of Miami’s 233-bed Hope Tower receives BD+C’s Bronze Building Team Award

Building Team Awards | Dec 3, 2021

Putting science on display, thanks to a design-build approach

UC Riverside’s Plant Growth Environments Facility receives BD+C’s Bronze Building Team Award.

Building Team Awards | Dec 2, 2021

An academic ‘precinct’ brings arts and sciences together

Wofford College’s Chandler Center for Environmental Studies receives BD+C’s Silver Building Team Award.

Building Team Awards | Dec 1, 2021

Denver sets the bar for water reclamation and reuse

A new administration building for the city’s water utility company scores Platinum in BD+C’s 2021 Building Team Awards.

2021 Building Team Awards | Nov 17, 2021

Caltech's new neuroscience building unites scientists, engineers to master the human brain

The Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena wins a Gold Award in BD+C's 2021 Building Team Awards.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021