Finegold Alexander’s Cornelius R. Kiernan Justice Center Wins AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice Award

Lowell Justice Center exterior
November 2, 2023
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We are thrilled to announce that the Lowell Justice Center, now known as The Cornelius F. Kiernan Justice Center, has received the prestigious 2023 Justice Facilities Review Award from the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice. The award program recognizes justice facilities projects that demonstrate innovative design, sustainable principles, and quality of form, functionality, and architectural responses to complex justice design issues.

The Lowell Justice Center is a 7-story, 265,000-square-foot, universally accessible building containing 17 courtrooms across five court departments. Consolidating four courthouses into one regional justice center fulfills the goals of the court’s masterplan with a design that balances functionality, accessibility, security, and sustainability creating a dignified and welcoming civic contribution to Lowell MA.

Courtroom of Lowell Justice Center, photo courtesy of Raj Das

A significant challenge facing the design team was providing abundant natural light and views while simultaneously delivering a highly efficient building. Its site orientation, massing, space planning, and carefully selected materials and systems all contributed to its LEED Platinum certification, the first state courthouse in the country to achieve that important status. Most of its public spaces and courtrooms feature direct natural light, while borrowed light pours through clerestory windows to enhance the interior courtrooms.

“It’s impressive that the team managed to place courtrooms along the exterior in order for them to have direct windows. That requires very clever space planning for the project’s layout. This project exudes justice while keeping its integrity.”
      - Jury comment
Corridor of Lowell Justice Center, photo courtesy of Raj Das

We extend our congratulations to the deserving recipients of the 2023 Justice Facilities Review Awards and encourage you to explore more about this year's exceptional honorees by clicking here.