Lowell, MA According to Finegold Alexander Architects, they have achieved LEED-Platinum certification of the newly constructed Lowell Justice Center in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, the Office of Courts Management, ARUP Engineers, ART Engineers, Nitsch Engineers, Copley Wolff Design Group, The Green Engineer, and Dimeo Construction. Lowell Justice Center is the first LEED-Platinum certified courthouse in the Commonwealth, as well as the first new state courthouse to achieve this certification in the United States.
The Lowell Justice Center is a 265,000 s/f, $146 million new-construction building that opened its doors in March 2020. The 21st century, modern courthouse is located on a 3.2-acre site at the northern edge of the Hamilton Canal District, within the Lowell National Historic Park. The courthouse contains the operations of the Superior, District, Housing, Juvenile, Probate and Family Courts. It also includes office space for court staff, a Court Service Center, Law Library, Registry of Deeds, Office of the District Attorney, and a Grand Jury Room, with a total of 17 courtrooms and associated detainee holding cells.
Among the various building features contributing to the LEED-Platinum certification are a chilled beam HVAC system, an air displacement system, photo-voltaic panels, highly insulated walls, and a building envelope with glazing that allows for abundant natural light to flow into the courtrooms, private areas behind the courtrooms, judges’ chambers, jury deliberation rooms, and transaction areas. Additionally, the mechanical and lighting systems in place targets performance that is 45% better than current code.
“Attaining LEED-Platinum for the Lowell Justice Center showcases what’s possible – and necessary – for civic structures and specifically for judicial spaces,” said Moe Finegold FAIA, principal in charge for Finegold Alexander. “This new-construction project underscores the importance of infusing sustainability into goals that accomplish functionality, maintainability, accessibility, security, and a sense of individual dignity through design.”
This 7-story center, which replaces 3 dysfunctional older courthouses, features a work of art by Martin Donlin, an artist from the UK. The entire 2-story glass entrance façade of this universally accessible justice center depicts, in brilliant colors, the multiculturalism of Lowell with quotations about justice in 4 languages and includes dynamically placed groups of people. The concept also recalls Lowell’s industrial history and its now burgeoning new research facilities which are woven into this grand work. The art is embedded in the glass which is semi-transparent, and the sunlit colors flood the entrance lobby.