Constructed in 1968, the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Office Building and Courthouse includes 188,000 square feet of Court and Federal Agency Office functions, and is considered to be an important example of regional mid-century architecture. The renovation design compliments the original building with a simple palette, integrating new elements while optimizing re-use of existing. Our charge was to:
• Restore “distinguishing architectural features” (canopies, façade);
• Create a new “first impression” by adding an entry pavilion to incorporate security and consolidate formerly separate (Court and Post Office) entries into one;
• Renovate circulation and offices throughout;
• Add new District/Magistrate Courtrooms;
• Replace all MEP/Life Safety systems;
• Achieve LEED Platinum.
The beacon-like Pavilion is a transparent jewel in contrast to the opacity of the original building. It slips behind the existing “historic” canopies and “spans” across flanking intimate gardens - as a bridge marking entry into the domain of the Courthouse.
The pavilion is simply and delicately detailed, despite its blast resistance. The articulation of the white concrete frame in the original building is reinterpreted in steel in the new pavilion. The super-light structure is designed with exceptionally thin crisp profiles, and superbly crafted and assembled with the low-iron, low-reflectance point-supported glazing system.
The former Post Office Lobby was re-purposed into a Arrival Hall that links the transformed Court/Office Lobby and new Social Security Lobby. The Hall features recognition of Margaret Chase Smith’s achievements, and original and new murals terminate views at each end.