AwardsAIA Florida, Florida’s Top 100 Buildings, 2012
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, 2008
AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice Knowledge
Justice Facilities Review, 2008
AIA Orlando Award of Excellence, 2008
The National Center for State Courts, 2001
Adjacent to an elevated highway and 1970’s federal office building, the new federal courthouse provides a landmark presence in downtown Orlando that links two sides of a divided city. The ensemble of new courthouse, new parking structure, and existing federal building form a sheltered public garden facing the nearby neighborhood.
The six- story courthouse has its entry at the corner of two key streets, Central Boulevard and Division Street. An entry tower marks the corner, facing the site of future commercial development and community activity. Along Central Boulevard, a public atrium opens to the community. The middle zone of the building has four courtrooms on each floor overlooking either the atrium or the roof terrace and the city. Beyond the courtroom zone, private judges’ chambers face the garden.
The public entrance at the tower opens directly into the light-filled atrium, which is shaded on its south side by a finely calibrated sunscreen. Administrative departments are visible and accessible. Facing the entry at the end of the atrium is the two-story Jury Assembly suite, with a public stair rising to lobby terraces above. On the end and side walls of the atrium, New York artist Al Held has created a series of monumental stained-glass windows, which are the focus of the public space.
A fundamental goal of the design is to provide natural daylight in each courtroom. Judges chambers are configured as pavilions around light terraces that allow daylight to enter the courtroom at alcoves behind the judge’s bench. At the top floor courtrooms, clerestory lighting creates a glowing center over the bench and well area.