LOS ANGELES – For eight decades, the Hall of Justice stood as a downtown Los Angeles landmark, serving as home to the LA County Sherriff’s Department and Coroner’s Office. The ornate building was damaged during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and deemed structurally unsound for continued occupation. For more than 20 years, the Hall of Justice – which once housed infamous criminals including Charles Manson and Bugsy Siegel – sat dormant, falling deeper into disrepair, until Los Angeles County sought to re-open the building and awarded Clark and A.C. Martin a design-build contract for a project that was equal parts structural retrofit, historic restoration, and complete tenant improvement. Over the course of the last three years, the project team meticulously repaired and restored the Hall of Justice, delivering a modern, functional facility that retains all of its original grandeur.
To structurally retrofit and reinforce the building, the team added concrete shear walls and drag beams on each elevation of every floor, while two interior light courts were reinforced with a system of strongbacks tied into the masonry with approximately 60,000 helical anchors.
The project’s restoration efforts were even more intense. The team included a resident conservator who performed small-scale mock-ups of each piece of historic fabric, including the exterior granite and terra cotta façade, the interior woodwork, the historic stairs, plaster, multiple metal types, terrazzo, and the interior stone cladding. These mock-ups helped the team understand how each historic element performed and should be properly restored to its original state.
In addition to repairing and restoring the historic structure, the project team built a new 1,000-vehicle parking structure. The LEED Gold Hall of Justice was re-dedicated late last year and is once again home to the Sherriff’s Department, as well as the Los Angeles District Attorney.
Gail Farber, the Public Works Director for the County of Los Angeles commented, “I want to commend the design-build project team who worked effectively and collaboratively to restore and resolve the many challenges on this project. They demonstrated the best practices to successfully deliver this project on schedule and under budget. Thank you team for delivering on our commitment to deliver excellence.”
Project partners include AECOM, Los Angeles, tenant improvement architect; Englekirk & Sabol, Los Angeles, structural engineer; Syska Hennessy Group, Los Angeles, MEP engineer; VCA Engineers, Inc., Los Angeles, civil engineer; Levin & Associates Architects, Los Angeles, historical architect; Murray Companies, Rancho Dominguez, Calif., and Critchfield Mechanical, Irvine, Calif., mechanical and plumbing contractors; and Dynalectric, Los Alamitos, Calif., electrical contractor. Project consultants include Simon Wong Engineering, Los Angeles, mechanical engineer; and Katherine Spitz Associates, Marina Del Rey, Calif., landscape architect.