Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse

Occupying an entire city block adjoining a public park, the 16-story Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse fulfills the diverse functional requirements of the Federal Courts Program within a single efficient structure.

Each of the judicial and bureaucratic functions is given a distinct representation within the formal components of the overall design. The dialogue between light and heavy forms dictates the expression of these functions on the building’s exterior. The courtroom zone is given the appearance of weight, conveyed through a façade of Indiana limestone punctuated by narrow lateral openings. Above, small square windows sponsor light scoops—trapezoidal volumes spanning across the upper zone of the restricted corridors to bring natural light into the courtrooms. In contrast, the judges’ chambers and public circulation galleries are daylit with a horizontally articulated curtain wall of reflective and transparent glass.

The lower portion of the facility houses administrative functions, and a nine-story limestone façade on the south and west mediates between the scale of the monumental tower shaft and the lower buildings. Along the west façade, public galleries open toward the park and the curved elevator tower acts as a campanile to pin the park’s northwest corner. On the opposite side, the court’s tower is capped by a curved metal roof that gestures to the Willamette River, while on the east façade, functions are arranged to take advantage of magnificent views of Mount Hood in the distance.


Portland, OR, USA


General Services Administration


Boora (Architect of Record)


Civic + Cultural


56,000 m2 / 602,000 ft2


Design Award-Honor (U.S. General Services Administration 1998), Certificate of Recognition for a New Courthouse in Historic Context (AIA New York City 1997), Architecture Award (AIA Portland 1997), Award of Merit (Engineering News-Record New York 1997), North America Marble Architectural Award-Special Mention (Stone World 1997), Design Award-Citation in Architecture (U.S. General Services Administration 1996), Design Award: Building Design Excellence (U.S. General Services Administration 1994), Honor Award (U.S. General Services Administration 1994)

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Project Type:Civic + Cultural
Project Location:Americas