The 93,000 SF Justice Center is a negotiation of intersecting edges materially and geographically. Glass, weathered steel and concrete are the building's primary materials. In their implementation, these raw materials project the austere durability of a desert vernacular. The scattered built forms recede behind indigenous mesquite trees, succulents and landscape channels sculpted for the periodic deluge of rain. The buildings themselves embrace a variability found in native landscape. The handcrafted concrete forms and hand-threaded rebar sunscreen demonstrate a material richness and deep care for craft. This Justice Center provides a glimpse into the uniqueness of tribal artistry, significance of location and primacy of Community.
The varied use of glass calls attention to the preoccupation with edges. Glass, positioned along the floor, orients views towards the ground. These lower windows create a sense of intimate and adjacent outdoor rooms. Skylights oriented in long north-south slots, pour natural light deep into courtrooms. The variables of daylight animate the interior and seek to reduce occupant stress. In another instance of the edge, a ribbon window provides privacy and a lens for projecting a leafy mesquite canopy inside. Yet another edge, a glass curtain creates the thinnest separation between occupant and outdoors. The intersections of materiality and transparency illustrate the activity, complexity and ambiguousness of edges.
A handcrafted rebar sunscreen both identifies and dissolves the taller judicial volume. Seven thousand steel strands create shade, blocking direct sunlight by 50%. This sunscreen reduces heat gain without large obstructions in views. The sunscreen appears fully transparent when faced directly. However, when viewed obliquely, the red-orange patina collapses into a solid opacity. It is between these conditions, the open transparency and the oblique enclosure, that the material complexity of edges is set-up. The Justice Center, constructed in the negotiation of edges, constitutes both building definition and disappearance.
Credits: - Oculus Solar Design - Envelope and Energy - Winquist Photography - Photographer - Matthew Winquist - Henderson Engineers, Inc. - MEP - Au' Authum Ki - Kitchell, LLC - General Contractor - McKay Conant Hoover, Inc. - Acoustical - GBtwo Landscape Architecture - Landscape - Wood Patel & Associates - Civil - PK Associates - Structural