United States Courthouse, Los Angeles, CA

Located on a prominent block in Downtown Los Angeles, the new 635,000-sf United States Courthouse design has a strong civic presence rooted in classic principles and driven by environmental performance and sustainable strategies. Syska Hennessy Group was retained by the Clark Construction Group/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) design-build team to deliver top-notch MEP and sustainability engineering design and consulting services for the project.

The project has an aggressive, 35 kBtu/sf/yr energy use intensity (EUI) performance requirement, and targets a LEED Platinum certification. The building envelope features a high-performance faceted curtain-wall façade, tuned to optimize building performance. This system gives the courthouse a lively expression that changes throughout the day; it also reduces solar heat gain into the building while providing ample natural light to internal courtrooms, judges’ chambers and common areas. The plan optimizes the court’s program and workflow, and ensures efficient operations and maintenance. Among the facility’s sustainable elements are a lobby radiant heating and cooling slab, displacement ventilation in courtrooms and a 400-KW rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system, generating nearly 8 percent of the building’s energy consumption. The electrical system includes two 5-KA substations and a 2-KW diesel generator for emergency power.

In addition, each floor is organized around a central light court whose monumental skylight delivers daylight into the heart of the building—and provides a second source of natural illumination for the courtrooms and public circulation spaces. This new design-build courthouse features 24 courtrooms, 32 judicial chambers and one level below grade parking, as well as mechanical and back-of-house spaces.

Architectural Award, 2015
Next LA Merit Award, 2013
SCDF, Design Award, 2013
Spark:Space, 2015
GSA Honor Award, 2016

LEED Status
LEED Platinum©

635,000 sf


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Clark Construction Group

Building Performance Modeling
GSA design excellence program
Design-build project delivery
32 judicial chambers
24 courtrooms