In December, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) named SOM the winner of an international competition to design the new Los Angeles courthouse, beating out three other shortlisted teams for the contract to design the $318 million project. The 600,000-square-foot building will house the U.S. District Court and the Central District of California, and it will feature 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers. Known informally as “The Cube,” because of its square shape, the chunky building rests on a very small podium, creating the illusion that it is floating above street level.
The new courthouse is expected to be extremely energy efficient, and it will feature a 225 kW combined cooling, heating and power system and water-efficient fixtures. On the roof, a 400 kW photovoltaic array will be installed, producing 525,000 kWh of energy per year. Passive heating and cooling was also taken into consideration, as the courthouse’s serrated facade is expected to maximize daylight harvesting while keeping the building naturally cool. The building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, and it is expected to be completed in 2016.