United States Federal Courthouse, Austin, Texas Receives AIA/AAJ Justice Facilities Review Award

United States Federal Courthouse, Austin, Texas Receives AIA/AAJ Justice Facilities Review Award

December 29, 2016 1:00 pm Back to All News


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) has selected the United States Federal Courthouse, Austin, Texas as a recipientĀ of the 2016 Justice Facilities Review Citation.

The United States Courthouse in Austin, Texas is distinguished by its relationship to Republic Square Park and San Antonio Plaza, bringing together federal, state (the park), and city (San Antonio Plaza) entities into a happily compatible coexistence in downtown Austin. The closing of San Antonio Street and the creation of the plaza effectively links the courthouse and the park as a single rectilinear block. Events in the park and on or around the plaza spill onto the courthouse steps, the plinth, and occasionally into the event space on the first level of the courthouse.

Just as the co-joining of the plaza, park and courthouse creates new opportunity for outdoor public events, the internal co-joining of the main entry lobby and the jury assembly space creates opportunity for public gatherings where originally there was no program area for such events. The judiciary envisions celebrations after special proceedings and other courts-initiated events, as well as events hosted at the invitation of the courts. These events may extend into the jury assembly garden as well as the elevator lobby and secure garden to the west.

Unlike most contemporary federal courthouses, the Austin courthouse features windows, views, and daylight in every courtroom and public space in the building.

The courthouse is also distinguished by the configuration of its native limestone exterior cladding. Standard and economical limestone units are installed in horizontal and randomly canted rows, presenting the back or sawn face of the limestone to the public and the more popular rough face turned inward, hidden from view. The installation sets up an active pattern of shade and shadow throughout the day.