Page D1.1 . 28 February 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department



New Courthouse in the Desert

by ArchitectureWeek

"I have always been struck by the pervasive nature of the desert in the midst of downtown Tucson, Arizona, and the magical qualities it bestows upon the urban experience." So says Norman Pfeiffer, FAIA, principal of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA), which last year completed Tucson's Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse.

"From afar," Pfeiffer continues, "the desert tells very little of what it knows. It appears monochromatic and formless and gives no clue to its scale and identity. But upon closer scrutiny it reveals its true self as a collection of diverse elements rich in form, color and texture."

The courthouse was designed to celebrate this special character. Like the desert, it is composed as a series of disparate objects juxtaposed in unexpected ways. The various elements are clad in a variety of materials, textures, and natural colors that mimic those of the desert.

The new federal courthouse, named in memory of the late Arizona Supreme Court justice, was designed by the Los Angeles office of HHPA and Leo A. Daly Architects. It was officially dedicated in October, 2000.

The 413,000-square-foot (37000-square-meter), $67.4 million courthouse was built as part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Design Excellence Program and was a recipient of a 1996 GSA Design Award for a Building in Progress. It replaces the 1929 James A. Walsh U.S. Courthouse and six other leased locations, consolidating court functions in a secure environment.



ArchWeek Photo

The courthouse is meant to evoke images of the desert through its forms and colors.
Photo: Bill Timmerman

ArchWeek Photo

Tucson Arizona's Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, viewed from the northeast.
Photo: Bill Timmerman


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