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AOC Long Beach Courts Building, Long Beach, United States

Thursday 30 Jun 2011

Law court for Long Beach

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Award Entry

A design economical to build, operate and maintain, inspired by the adjacent Pacific Ocean 

The New Superior Courts Building in Long Beach, designed to LEED Silver standards by Perkins+Will in association with Heery, balances the traditional judicial expression of monumentality and somberness while its built form is rooted in its climate, community and time. It is a building type that symbolises democracy and conveys a dignity in both the law and expression of form.

Dictated by context and solar orientation, it opens itself to the City and simultaneously embraces those arriving. The Court Building rises from an office podium of fluted concrete panels, while eight courtrooms per floor are organised in a ‘V’ configuration and expressed in shiplapped precast concrete. Clad in composite aluminum panels the judicial chambers and jury deliberation rooms are grafted between each pair of courtrooms.

Public circulation for the trial courts offers views to the Pacific Ocean and is inspired by the movement of water. Bowing outward to accept the population discharging into the Sky Lobby, the curtain wall exhibits a poetic elegance and serves to introduce the Long Beach Court Building to the community.

Integrated into the circulation and spatial design of the interior spaces is a double atrium concept. These vertical volumes define public areas and provide visual connectivity between multiple floors. With varying forces acting upon the court floors, there is a need to disassociate its geometry from its podium and the orthogonal street grid. The north tower drives the mechanical conditioning needs of the building and is rotated northeast achieving the optimum building solar orientation for the site.

The south leg pivots in response and serves as a counterpoint to the larger gesture. Materiality is expressed through function. Textures, patterns and details reference the Courts Building’s civic presence while celebrating its Southern California locale. Images of sunlight dappling across the water have inspired the architecture and its palette. This visual richness and depth defines this new Court Building while achieving an iconic elegance for both the community, the City and the AOC.

Key Facts

Status Concept Design
Value 0(m€)
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