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Award of Merit, Government/Public Buildings: United States Federal Courthouse, Bakersfield

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A fast-tracked design-build delivery project, the 30,000-sq-ft interpretation of the traditional courthouse on the village green features one Magistrate Court and chamber, district clerk's office, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.

Photo Courtesy of Sean Airhart/NBBJ
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Completed in June 2012, $2.5 million under budget, the $25-million, two-story facility uses 30% less energy than comparable buildings. The courthouse is required to achieve LEED Silver Certification, but the team says it could achieve Gold as built.

Adjacent to a public lake, the building combines classical architecture with a contemporary style. Concrete tilt-up panels were cast on site; for security, some are thicker than normal. The largest panel weighed 150,000 lbs, requiring a 300-ton crane. The slender concrete columns are a modern take on a classical portico. Wide exterior stairs lead to the public entry porch and into the courtroom waiting area.

The site is within 150 ft of an aqueduct east of the property line and six inches from a neighboring building. While excavating and shoring, the construction team drove trench boxes to ensure that the building was not harmed.

As a community gesture to cap off the project, the construction team invited local officials, community members and the local Boys & Girls Club to help plant 15 trees.

United States Federal Courthouse


Key Players

Owner: U.S. General Services Administration, San Francisco

Contractor: Gilbane Building Co., San Jose

Architect of Record: NBBJ, Seattle

Construction Management: APSI Construction Management, Irvine

Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti, Los Angeles

Civil Engineer: Psomas, Roseville

MEP: A. G. Mechanical Engineers, Santa Barbara

Landscape Architect: Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles

Submitted by Gilbane Building/NBBJ/GSA


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