Toledo Courthouse Earns Design Award

TOLEDO, Ohio — The design for the proposed U.S. Courthouse in Toledo was recognized by the United States General Services Administration (GSA) in May with a 2014 GSA Design Award. The GSA cited the courthouse, designed by Mehrdad Yazdani of CannonDesign’s Yazdani Studio in Los Angeles, for its achievements in both architecture and urbanism.
Yazdani Studio’s concept for the $95 million courthouse, which will be located on the city’s Civic Center Mall, organizes six courts in three pairs, each in its own cylindrical volume. The court masses are arranged in a right angle configuration, and cohesion is created through a continuous horizontal, domed roof plane. Though the design does maintain some more traditional courthouse elements, including an elevated foundation and a prominent staircase, it will also create a dramatic counterpoint to the existing 1930’s-era courthouse located at the mall’s opposite end.

Jury member David Adjaye wrote that the 232,000-square-foot Toledo Courthouse’s “relationship with a city beautiful–era mall
is very convincing. It creates a fantastic belvedere from which to see the site.”

“The design also imbues a sense of democracy into the plan of the building by repurposing typical Jeffersonian elements such as domes, columns and the like — making the Toledo Courthouse a progressive building steeped with the modest values of our democratic system of government,” said the firm in a statement.
A committee initially selected the innovative courthouse design in 2004. However, work on the project was suspended shortly after as the result of federal cost-cutting measures. Progress resumed in 2007, and the design was given final approval in 2011. The design was completed in 2013, and includes space to accommodate future District Court expansion.
According to CannonDesign, the award-winning courthouse design was the result of careful collaboration between the firm and a number of local stakeholders. CannonDesign said in a statement that to ensure creation of a landmark building for the city, the design process relied on a collaborative effort with city and county officials, judges, court administrators and downtown business leaders to improve the mall to meet community and governmental aspirations.
The courthouse was designed under the auspices of the GSA Design Excellence Program, and anticipates LEED Gold certification upon completion. It also received an Honor Award from AIA Cleveland.

The GSA bestows awards, which celebrate the accomplishments of its employees, as well as the architects, engineers, landscape architects, urban designers, interior designers, artists, conservationists and preservationists who create and safeguard the nation’s landmarks, every two years. The awards program stresses creativity and also streamlines the way GSA hires architects and engineers.