Designed in collaboration with CGL Ricci Greene, the 17-story Multnomah County Central Courthouse will help transform the public's perception and experience of the region's justice system.
An open, light-filled entry lobby will communicate the open, welcoming nature of the county courts. The lobby will be animated by a café, information kiosks, directional and thematic displays, public art and a dramatic staircase that moves through the space and culminates in a majestic view of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River. Most of the building elements used by County citizens will be located in this spacious lobby, creating the feeling of an open marketplace with ready access to services.
At the heart of the design is the presence of courtrooms that are clearly visible through the glass facade of the building. Public spaces outside the courtrooms provide the building exterior with activity and dynamic energy. The next layer of the facade is glass, reinforcing the transparent nature of justice, overlaid with a regular structure that represents stability and order. The final layer of the exterior is composed of a series of panels in an irregular pattern that symbolizes the people of the county.
Sustainable Design Strategies
Using a holistic approach, the Courthouse project has sought to push the environmental sustainability limits in every aspect of its design. The uniquely composed façade coupled with the structural thermal mass is designed to capture the solar heat gain delivered by the morning sun. A radiant hydronic loop embedded in the concrete floor absorbs the energy that falls on the slab and redistributes it to other public spaces, reducing building heating loads on a clear winter morning by up to 20%. Architecture 2030 targets will be achieved by combining limited glazing, a high-performance envelope, radiant heating and cooling systems for judge and staff offices, and a displacement system for the courtrooms and public spaces.
In addition to passive energy conservation strategies, the Courthouse will also feature an array of rooftop solar panels whose excess energy production will help offset the adjacent Hawthorne Bridge's energy costs.
The Courthouse design team was co-located with the client and the contractor, Hoffman Construction, throughout the design and construction process. Working in an historic building on the site, the team developed a highly collaborative process that enabled everyone, from the engineers to the construction trade partners, to clearly understand the client's goals for the project and to work together to achieve them.
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