Rising 16 stories, the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse will house the Portland operations of the United States Courts, completing the government center district in downtown Portland surrounding the historic Lownsdale and Chapman Square parks. The 563,000-square-foot courthouse provides space for 21 district and magistrate courtrooms, judges chambers, and support spaces including offices for the Clerk of the Court, the US Marshalls, the circuit library, probation, and pretrial. Below the building, structured parking accommodates 194 cars. Boora served as the design team's executive architect, while Kohn Pederson Fox served as design architect.
Within the conditions of the site, the design balances the authority of the US judiciary with the openness and accessibility of a democratic system of government. A tower accommodates two courtrooms and two chambers per floor, with a special proceedings courtroom on the uppermost floor. The west side of the tower, which overlooks the government center park, contains the lobbies outside each of the courtroom pairs. The 18-foot-high clear glass wall of each lobby expresses the proceedings taking place inside while allowing views to the park below and the verdant Tualatin Mountains immediately to the west of downtown Portland.
Within the tower, the courtroom block is defined by the limestone-clad box of a structural moment frame. Around each courtroom, restricted corridors provide separate and secure circulation through the building for judges, defendants, and visitors. On the east side of the building, the judges' chambers are stacked to provide views of Portland's Willamette River and Oregon's Mount Hood.
Assymetrically composed at the base of the tower, an eight-story sidecar houses administrative and library facilities for the courts and the US Marshalls. The sidecar's height is limited to that of adjacent buildings, including the county courthouse across the park and the justice center to the south. The sidecar thus reinforces the precedent of eight-story buildings delineating the edges of the government center park while mediating the monumental height of the courtroom tower. A public garden on the roof of the sidecar overlooks the parks and the Willamette River and features sculpture by Tom Otterness, part of the General Services Administration's Art in Architecture program.
Other government buildings
Anchorage State of Alaska Courthouse
City of McMinnville, Oregon, City Facilities Master Plan
City of McMinnville, Oregon, Civic Hall
City of McMinnville, Oregon, Public Safety Building
Federal Reserve Bank Pacific Northwest Headquarters
Wayne L. Morse US Courthouse Furniture Acquisition
"Federal Courthouses," January 1, 1996
"GSA Design Awards," May, 1995
"Search for Justice," November, 1997
"44th Annual Design Review," July, 1998
New York Times Magazine
"Monuments to a Crime-Fearing Age," May 1, 1995
"New Courthouse for Portland," October, 1993
"Grace in Government," March 10, 1995
"Balance of Justice," July 1, 1998
American Institute of Architects (Portland Chapter)
Honor Award, 1997
American Institute of Architects (Pacific Region)
Honor Award, 1999
American Institute of Architects (Western International Design Awards Program)
Certificate of Recognition, 2000
Certificate of Recognition (Unbuilt), 1994
United States General Services Administration
Honor Award, 1998
Honor Award (Unbuilt), 1994