Safdie to design U.S. Courthouse

Moshe Safdie and Associates Inc. Architects and Planners will design a new Federal Courthouse in Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A., for the United States General Services Administration. A competition that included Wolf Architecture, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects and Garrison and Siegel Architects was won by Safdie, who will work in association with Sherlock, Smith and Adams, Inc. of Montgomery, Alabama. The building will comprise a strong civic presence along a principal north-south street in downtown Mobile. A glazed portico entrance will extend westwards as a colonnaded arcade to accommodate a grand stair that will rise to every level of the building. A south-facing piazza will act as a communal gathering space with a reflecting pool, hard and soft landscaping and oak trees. The south-facing public spaces, though generously shaded to compensate for a hot climate, are complemented by a linear light-well that traverses the length of the building to provide daylight to offices. All courtrooms are fitted with windows and/or skylights as well. The building, estimated at US $71 million, is 29, 939 square metres in area and scheduled to begin construction in 2004 with a projected opening in 2007.