An exceptionally privileged site on Boston Harbor is the occasion for this celebration, in architecture, of the dignity and probity of our federal court system.
This federal courthouse serves as headquarters for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The building houses two appeals courtrooms, 19 district courtrooms, six magistrate’s courtrooms, 42 judge’s chambers, a law library, offices for the U.S. attorney, and extensive facilities to support the operations of the federal courts. It has a total floor area of 765,000 square feet, distributed over ten floors above grade and one below.
To maximize the public benefit of its prime waterfront location, the courthouse incorporates a broad array of services and amenities, including a café, information center, and excursion boat ticket office in an arcaded waterfront loggia, as well as spaces for exhibitions, lectures, meetings, and dining in the Great Hall overlooking the Harborpark. Occupying the site’s entire 850-foot-long waterfront, the latter is landscaped with trees and plants indigenous to the New England seashore.
4.6 acres; a key waterfront site on Fan Pier in South Boston
760,000 ft2 / 71,000 m2 gross area; courtrooms, grand jury suite, jury assembly room, support facilities, offices, judges' chambers, District library, skylit entrance hall, skylit rotunda, Great Hall shaped by a glass conoid, public galleries, monumental public art, dining, childcare facility, outdoor arcade, landscaped park, other public amenities
United States General Services Administration
Architecture; exterior envelope; interior design of public spaces, courtrooms, and judges' chambers
10 Year Award
U.S. General Services Administration, 2016
Presidential Design Citation
American Institute of Architects, 1999
Honor Award for Design
U.S. General Services Administration, 1996
Presidential Design Awards 2000: Federal Design Achievement Award
National Endowment for the Arts, 2000
Award of Merit
American Institute of Architects, District of Columbia Chapter, 1999
Brick in Architecture Award
American Institute of Architects / Brick Institute of America, 1999
DuPont Benedictus Award for Innovation in Architectural Laminated Glass
American Institute of Architects / DuPont, 1999
Design Awards: Grand Institutional Award for the Use of Laminated Glass in Design
The decision to build the Courthouse on this highly visible waterfront site was a command to give voice, through architecture, to the aspirations and beliefs that underlie the American system of jurisprudence.
The park is directly accessible from the Courthouse via a circular entry pavilion located at the midpoint of the conoidal glass wall that embraces the Great Lawn, an open space constituting the shared symbolic center of both Courthouse and Harborpark.
Executive Architect: Jung / Brannen Associates, Boston; Structural: LeMessurier Consultants, Cambridge, MA; Mechanical / Electrical: Cosentini Associates, New York; Courts Consultant: Gruzen Samton LLP, New York; Landscape: Olin Partnership, Philadelphia; Landscape: Carol R. Johnson & Associates, Cambridge, MA; Images: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Steve Rosenthal, Pamela Cobb