United States Federal Courthouse

Mobile, Alabama, 2005

The United States Courthouse in Mobile has a strong civic presence along St. Louis and St. Joseph Streets, serving as a link between the downtown retail area and the historic De Tonti Square to the north. The courthouse bridges over Conception Street, which bisects the site, creating a pedestrian promenade and an open visual corridor. The courthouse, containing ten courtrooms, is entered at the corner of St. Joseph and St. Louis Streets via a great, glazed portico. The portico extends westwards as a colonnaded arcade, accommodating a grand stair that rises to each level of the building. The colonnade curves gently around the two-block site encircling a cluster of mature, live oak trees along St. Louis Street. Additional planting will extend this landscape to form a south-facing civic piazza in which the oaks and a reflective pool will create an active community place. The principal block of courtrooms and support facilities is complemented by smaller-scale pavilions, which hold the judges’ chambers. Three-story-high garden walls echo the scale of adjacent residential buildings. South-facing public spaces, shaded in response to the severe summer heat, are further protected by the native live oaks. Linear light wells traversing the length of the building provide daylight to offices throughout the building. All courtrooms are fitted with windows and/or skylights to enhance the environment and to create the appropriate mood.

Project Type: Government

Client: United States General Services Administration

Cost: $79 million

Size: 332261

Collaborators

Associate Architects - Sherlock, Smith and Adams