This Superior Courts Building for the State of California balances the traditional judicial expression of monumentality and somberness with a new expressive form rooted in climate, community and time. Architecturally the project embodies an appropriate accessibility of the legal system to all; the transparency of the proceedings within, connections to daylight and the outdoors for all users; gathering places both formal and intimate. The ‘wave’ curtain wall invokes the metaphor of water, as a cleansing element, the gentle curve of the wave representing the timelessness of the proceedings, connecting the project to the Southern California ocean lifestyle and coastal communities the building serves. The project is timely and relevant in that aspects of the process are now routinely applied within the industry (BIM 4-D implementation, LEED Silver sustainability target, design/build contractor dynamics, fast track delivery strategies, life-cycle construction and operation analysis. 34 Courtrooms, secure holding, office and retail space, approximately $320M construction cost.
This project emerged from a critical experiment by the State of California for the design, funding and operation of new facilities – 3 developer-led teams developed competition proposals for the Administrative Office of the Courts for a site 2 blocks from the ocean in Long Beach. A complex relationship was struck between the State Office of Courts Construction and Management, the Superior Court system and the Redevelopment Agency of Long Beach to provide this vital facility. The developer team would finance, design, construct own, operate and maintain the building for 30 years, at which time the State will take it over. Unbuilt competition entry, but national AIA American Academy of Justice Design Award Honor Award 2011.