Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse Miami

Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse, Miami, Architecture, Images, Architect, Photos

Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Federal Courthouse

Miami Court Building Development, Florida, USA – Arquitectonica + HOK

15 Jul 2008

Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse Miami

This $129,000,000.000 courthouse of 77,784 SF stands at the end of the axis created by an urban promenade. Located on what were once separate blocks, the towers face east and west. Each is dramatically lifted three stories off the ground by massive free-standing and engaged limestone columns. The center atrium is elevated above the plaza to maintain the physical and visual axis through the building. The Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Federal Courthouse façades are scored with a pattern of mullions suggesting the different functions within— from tall, broadly spaced lines that announce public spaces to shorter, more densely packed divisions that delineate the offices on lower levels.

Miami Courthouse Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Federal Courthouse
photographs © Robin Hill

Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse Miami

The profile is characterized by the layering of different forms and details. Courtrooms, judges’ chambers, and court-related office space are defined as two glazed towers edged in sand-colored precast concrete. Joining the two towers is an 8-story curved glass form that appears as the hull of a great ship held inside and rising above the framework of the towers. With its prow pointed south, this volume is defined by an expansive blue-green curtain-wall highlighted with slender horizontal sunscreens in various lengths and locations. In the paired east and west tower façades, the precast concrete frame is thicker at the bottom edge of one and the top edge of the other. In the same elevations, the wall of one building moves out while the other is pulled back.

Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse Miami Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse
images © Norman McGrath

The Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse building is about openness, with exterior and interior engaging each other as if in dialogue. The planimetric design is based on four-courtrooms per floor. The two court towers are connected by a generous circulation lobby, occurring on every floor, and rising dramatically throughout the entire height. The courtrooms themselves are designed with clerestories for natural light. The transparency is most evident in the central section where floors seven through 14 are a multistory atrium penetrated by an expanding cone of colored glass piercing through the lobbies and decreasing in size as it rises through the building, terminating in a skylight. At night, the cone is illuminated and can be seen through the façade.

Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse
picture : Julio Espana, © Arquitectonica

A contemporary colonnade surrounds the south tower entrance of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse alluding in its mass and scale to classical porticoes. These columns are the threshold to a five-story glass walled lobby. The floor is slate, and interior walls are covered in irregularly staggered vertical limestone panels. At the north end elevators rise to upper floors; to the south, an escalator dramatically crisscrosses the lobby to the fifth floor jury assembly area.

Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse
photos © Robin Hill

Levels five and six span the entire length of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse building but on levels seven and higher the light-filled atrium divides each floor. On the courtroom levels, ten through 13, the walls are lined with the same limestone found in the lobby. On these floors, elevators open into waiting areas with expansive views. Courtroom plans at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Federal Courthouse in the east and west towers are mirror images of each other. These spaces have clerestory windows that bring in natural light. Finishes include fabric acoustical panels and overlapping, multidirectional cherry wood paneling. The furnishings and fixtures are walnut. In the rear center of each courtroom, the judge’s bench is faced with teak and limestone in front of a backdrop of wenge wood panels. Of particular visual interest are the folded, origami-like courtroom ceilings. These provide acoustical benefits and reinterpret a signature detail of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Federal Courthouse building that visitors first encounter in the water wall under the open portal.

Award for the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Federal Courthouse:
2007, American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Justice, Design Certificate of Citation

Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Federal Courthouse – Building Information

Location: 400 North Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida 33128
Owner: General Services Administration, Atlanta, Georgia

Design Architect : ARQUITECTONCIA
in joint venture association with Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum

Partners-in-Charge of Design: Bernardo Fort Brescia, FAIA; Laurinda Spear, FAIA
Architect of Record: Arquitectonica
Associate Architects: Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum
Interior Designer: ARQUITECTONICA INTERIORS
Size: 577,784 GSF
Published Budget: $129,000,000.00

Awards: 2007 AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice, Certificates of Citation

Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Courthouse : Project Description

Arquitectonica + HOK


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