Reimagining the City

The U.S. Federal Building & Courthouse

May 1st, 2018

Reimagining the City // Federal Courthouse Square

By John O’Connor
Tropic Magazine, May 2018

In our April issue, Tropic announced an invitational design charrette, the goal of which is to reimagine the William Morgan-designed Federal Courthouse, now deemed obsolete for its original purpose. The group of architects we’ve chosen to participate in this exercise understand that Morgan’s Courthouse Swuare worked well pre-9/11, its trayed formation and open terraces suggesting an open, transparent democracy in built form. After the events of 9/11 however, the United States clamped down and security became the rallying cry of the decade. So Courthouse Square, as we call it, was quickly locked down, its doors alarmed, its courtyards closed to the public. It no longer made sense as a federal Court in an era of mistrust and suspicion.