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.

United States Courthouse


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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