Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, Foley Square

Situated on a tight downtown site, the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse accommodates a complex program in a high-rise form while creating an active urban space at ground level.

Opening onto Foley Square in lower Manhattan, this 27-story Federal courthouse is located adjacent to Guy Lowell’s Municipal Courthouse of 1926 and across from Cass Gilbert’s U.S. Courthouse tower of 1936. The building’s nine-story base, which matches the height of Lowell Courthouse, houses two lobbies linked by a gallery, a jury selection room, 200,000 square feet of support space for the District and Circuit Courts and the U.S. Marshall’s Service, cafeteria, auditorium, and a ceremonial court under a vaulted roof. The tower, which aligns with Gilbert’s courthouse, contains 42 courtrooms and judges’ chambers.

The complexity of this project, particularly its diverse circulation requirements, was a powerful force in directing the overall design of the building. The separation of functions within the new courthouse allows for larger, more efficient and privatized facilities. The four clustered courtrooms prescribed a particular shape and required access to three separate systems of circulation. The T-shaped site allowed two basic massings to emerge: the 27-story tower housing the courtrooms and chambers faces the Foley Square precinct, while the nine-story wing housing the support agencies faces the residential community.

Located in the dense municipal fabric of Manhattan and the surrounding low-scale residential community of Chinatown, the project takes cues from the rhythm of the existing, classically styled civic structures. Similar material palettes were utilized to blend the building into its environment. Recognized as one of the most successful new urban spaces in New York City, a pedestrian-scaled public plaza adjacent to the Lowell Courthouse incorporates the Maya Lin sculpture Sounding Stones.


New York NY USA


BPT Properties, General Services Administration


Cioppa Rosen Associates Inc (Interior Designer), The Switzer Group (Interior Designer)


88,800 m2 / 955,000 ft2


Certificate of Recognition for a New Courthouse in Historic Context (AIA New York City 1996), New Construction Building of the Year (Building Owners and Managers Association New York 1996)

View More

Project Type: