The City of Jacksonville experienced a renaissance of its historic cove with an emphasis on the Hemming Plaza area becoming a governmental center. The federal courthouse is integral in the city’s vision of occupying the entire block to the west of Hemming Plaza. The Heery Design team worked closely with the General Services Administration to deliver a secure, state-of-the-art courthouse that would respond to the city’s vision for a government center within the historic cove. Occupying an entire block to the west of Hemming Plaza, the 420,000 SF facility features 17 courtrooms.
The basic site organization for this concept locates the courthouse tower on the western two-thirds of the site with the main facade and entry facing Hemming Plaza to the east. The balance of the site is being developed as the courthouse plaza with the pedestrian sidewalks providing visual continuity with Hemming Plaza. The design was centered on creating an elegant silhouette, integrating fenestration requirements into the exterior design and further exploration of building materials and detailing. Careful attention was given to create a hierarchy of exterior scales, starting with the skyline. This concept allows some incremental growth within the stacking in two strategies: first using expansion space and secondly displacing functions. Expansion space is provided on the 13th and 14th floors. As a result of the high frequency of travel between chambers and courtrooms for the magistrate and bankruptcy judges, a traditional arrangement is utilized for these floors. The district and appeals chambers are co-located on two common floors. This allows a reduced building footprint which enables the building to achieve a greater set back on the site, providing an enhanced buffer to the train station.
Key components and challenges of this project include: