John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse

Boston, Massachusetts
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Additional collaborations with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners:
TRO Jung Brannen, Inc.
790,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 

The John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse features a 32,736 square-foot conoid glass wall and other unique architectural elements. The project required an exceptional team effort in order to successfully carry out the technically advanced design.

With a stunning design, the mainly New England brick and granite structure blends with its historic commercial surroundings. The 10-story John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse features an eight-story, semi-circular curtain wall that curves inward and slopes backward. Brick and precast, combined with punch windows, comprise the remaining portions of the façade. The main entrance leads to a magnificent full-height rotunda with two large skylights and a sculpture by artist Ellsworth Kelly. The courthouse also includes 27 courtrooms, administrative offices, a cafeteria, a court library, and a secured prisoner area.

The design required excellent craftsmanship, and Clark ensured the construction of the courthouse met these standards. The building's most striking feature, the conoid glass wall, is comprised of 735 pieces of glass, of which no two pieces are alike. Installing the glass wall required surgical precision. Clark's team also installed a skylight-upon-skylight system, which was pieced together on the roof then hoisted into place atop the structure's atrium via crane. In addition, the design features intricate, complicated brickwork that required painstaking attention to detail. Approximately 1.75 million bricks were used throughout the structure.

Integral to this complex project's success was the formal partnering process, which promoted open communication among project team members and ensured challenges were resolved without claims. Ultimately, the project received rave reviews from members of Boston's design and construction community.

AIA - Award of Merit
Dupont Benedictus - Award for Innovation in Architectural Laminated Glass
National Endowment for the Arts - Presidential Design Award
Saflex Safe & Sound Award - Laminated Glass in Design