United States Courthouse – Austin, Texas

Project Description

Located in downtown Austin, the courthouse will occupy a full city block directly west of Republic Square Park. The square configuration of the site sponsors a highly compact, cubic building form. The stability of the cubic form exemplifies the strength, coherence and dignity of the judicial system. Floor plates approach a square configuration. A plinth forms a base holding the sidewalk-edge, providing anti-ram protection and addressing the scale of the park.

Level four marks the beginning of a rotated and interlocking courtroom distribution scheme. All floor to floor heights at the courtroom levels meet the ceiling height requirement for offices and chambers, with courtrooms attaining their required ceiling heights by penetrating the floor directly above. Like courtrooms are stacked affecting a rationally organized structural system and an efficient area to volume ratio. On each courts level, one district and one magistrate courtroom share a public space.

The scheme demands a diagonal exchange of public space that takes advantage, like the courtrooms, of the double-height space. All courtrooms, jury deliberation rooms, chambers, public spaces and witness / attorney conference rooms are located at exterior surfaces where natural light is available.





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Project Information

project: a new federal courthouse
client: General Services Administration
location: Austin, Texas
anticipated completion date: fall 2012
building area: 230,000 square feet
construction cost: $96 million


  • LEED Silver Certification
  • 2016 The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Center American Architecture Award
  • 2016 AIA South Atlantic Region Design Award
  • 2016 ABJ Commercial Real Estate Awards Overall Winner
  • 2016 AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice, Justice Facilities Review Award
  • 2014 General Service Administration Design Award
  • 2013 Texas Masonry Council Golden Trowel Award
  • 2008 General Services Administration Citation in On-the-Boards Architecture