NBBJ's designs for new federal court building in California
The 35,500 sq ft Bakersfield Federal Courthouse houses a single Magistrate courtroom. The project is sensitively sited in Bakersfield’s only downtown park, creating a modern interpretation of the quintessential courthouse on the village green. There were three key design precepts for the project:
- Making Justice Legible by connecting back to the founding traditions of colonial American justice, where the one-room courthouse was a symbol of the dignity and rigor of the rule of law in a new democracy. The integration of symbolic elements, such as the portico, is achieved in a design that "embodies the best of contemporary American architectural thought" as stated in the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture.
- Expression of Critical California Regionalism by harking back to the rich modernist legacy of Rudolph Schindler’s and Irving Gill’s exploration of tilt-up concrete construction, and strong connections to the California landscape.
- High Performance Design that is on target to achieve estimated energy conservation 30 percent better than ASHRAE 90.1-2007 code, LEED Gold certification and a 43 percent reduction in overall CO2 emissions as compared with average similar buildings. The energy conservation is mainly achieved through place-specific passive strategies, including solar orientation, shading, high performance glazing and enhanced thermal insulation.
Responding to the challenges of the American Recovery Act, GSA awarded the project through an innovative Design Excellence - Design / Build Competition process. Working closely with subcontractors, the design / build team was able to align design intent with budget during the concept phase, allowing for a streamlined process and balanced design outcome while guaranteeing the delivery of an on-time, on-budget solution. The ultimate challenge for the project is to maintain the high standards of the GSA’s Design Excellence Program, while meeting the challenges of an expedited design / build delivery process, to deliver an outstanding courthouse for the people of Bakersfield. Completion is set for January 2012.