L.A. Hall of Justice

A Project in Restoration
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.
Gail Farber, Director, L.A. County of Public Works
Los Angeles, California
County of Los Angeles
AC Martin & Partners
335,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 

Clark worked alongside design partner A.C. Martin of Los Angeles on a design-build contract for structural, architectural, and aesthetic upgrades to the 1920s-era Hall of Justice building. L.A.'s former county jail, the Hall of Justice was closed after it was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Los Angeles Sherriff's Department and members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's staff — both former tenants of the building — occupy the new space.

For 20 years, the Hall of Justice – which once housed infamous criminals including Charles Manson and Bugsy Siegel – sat dormant, falling deeper into disrepair. When Los Angeles County sought to re-open the building, it awarded Clark and design partner A.C. Martin a design-build contract for a job that was equal parts structural retrofit, historic restoration, and complete tenant improvement. Over the course of three years, the project team meticulously repaired and restored the Hall of Justice, delivering a modern, functional facility that retains all of its grandeur.

The 335,000 square-foot Hall of Justice features seismic upgrades, 308,000 square feet of office space, new interior shear walls and drag beams, and new MEP systems that tie into the building's existing central plant. Additional renovations included seismic reinforcement, adding a museum area and kitchen, and removing two floors of former jail cells to create room for office space.

Clark 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 Hall of Justice building, the project team built a new 1,000-vehicle parking structure.

Fast Facts

  • To complete the structural retrofit, over 10 miles of #11 rebar was installed by hand through holes cut in the original slab.
  • The team abated  lead paint from more than 1,600 original windows, including multi-light, double hung, cast iron, galvanized steel, and awning-style. Before re-installing the glazing, the team recreated each windows' glazing stop screws to match the original.
  • The Hall of Justice's historic wood elevator cabs were restored and re-installed in a modern elevator system. The facility features destination dispatch - a new technology that groups passengers on elevators based on common destinations. This efficiency allowed the project to proceed with one less elevator than originally planned.
  • After a thorough evaluation, the team used a micro-abrasive glass bead blasting system, rather than the prescribed acid-based agent, to clean the building's granite facade. This process ensured that the hallmark exterior stone would regain its original luster but never dull over time.


The Hall of Justice anticipates earning LEED Gold certification.


Clark and subcontractor Vertical Access faced this fall protection challenge while pre-planning the project's scaffold erection. A worker could tie off for the first bay of the scaffold tower, but would create a greater hazard at higher levels, as a fall could collapse the entire structure. Not tying off at higher levels, however, meant workers would have to "plug in" to the rails between the next set of scaffold frames, leaving them too close to the leading edge of the planking.

The two companies collaborated on a simple, but effective solution: a sliding end-rail system that hooked onto the existing guardrails on both sides of the scaffold platform. This end-rail can slide forward along the side rails and will stop just before the next frame, providing 100 percent fall protection. The team sketched the idea and had a prototype fabricated that was then tested on site. After making some minor adjustment, the team ordered several of these sliding devices for the project. This innovation allowed workers to safely and efficiently place their next set of rails through the openings in the end-rail system without a fall exposure at the leading edge, with no tie off necessary.

American Public Works Association, Southern California Chapter - Best Project
Construction Management Association of America, Southern California Chapter - Project of the Year
Los Angeles Business Journal, Commercial Real Estate Awards - Best Public Project
California Preservation Foundation Historic Preservation Award for Rehabilitation
DBIA Western Pacific Region - Regional Project of the Year
DBIA National Award of Merit - Rehabilitation, Renovation, and Restoration
ENR California Best Project of the Year - Best Project, Renovation/Restoration