United States Courthouse



NBBJ, w/U.S. District Court - Western District; PWP Landscape Architects


Joint Venture of JA Jones/Absher







615,000 ft² / 1 block


Structural & Civil Engineer

Seattle, WA

United States Courthouse

Rising 23 stories above downtown, this building occupies an entire city block and includes 18 courtrooms and a two-level parking garage for 200 vehicles—all designed to meet exacting GSA Level C security provisions. MKA successfully developed and implemented an innovative steel plate shear wall (SPSW) system, which has been proven (by GSA-sponsored testing) to be highly effective in dissipating seismic energy while resisting lateral forces. The SPSW system was 30% faster to construct, resulted in a 10% cost savings compared to traditional systems, and provided more useable space compared to other systems. For the civil site design, MKA's scope included a one-acre plaza with landscape features such as birch trees, reflecting pools, public art, stormwater detention, and anti-ram elements such as benches, bollards, and walls.  In addition, MKA coordinated with the Seattle Department of Transportation to design street improvements along four roadway frontages.


Award of Merit - 2006 Region Design Awards - American Institute of Architects, Northwest and Pacific Region Chapter

Commendation - Honor Awards for Washington Architecture - American Institute of Architects, Seattle Chapter

GSA "Practically Perfect Project (PPP)" (on time, on budget, no lawsuits) - U.S. General Services Administration

Grand Award, New Building (Over $50 Million) - Construction Excellence Awards - Associated General Contractors of Washington

Grand Conceptor Award, Overall - Engineering Excellence Awards - American Council of Engineering Companies

Honor Award - Civic Design Awards 2005 - American Institute of Architects, Washington Chapter

Honorable Mention - 2004 Distinguished Project Awards - Northwest Construction Consumer Council

Platinum Award, Overall - Engineering Excellence Awards - American Council of Engineering Companies, Washington Chapter

Recipient, Special Achievement Award - U.S. General Services Administration

Top 25 Newsmakers (Kurt Nordquist) - Engineering News-Record

Winner, Charles Pankow Award for Innovation - Outstanding Projects and Leaders Awards - American Society of Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering Research Foundation

Winner, Construction Honor Award - 2004 Design and Construction Excellence Awards Program - U.S. General Services Administration

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