Built to Last

Originally designed by George A. Clough in 1886, the historic Durfee High School still serves the public—today as a courthouse

Fall River Trial Courthouse

Client: Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Fall River, Massachusetts

With a commanding presence and expansive views of the Taunton River and Mt Hope Bay from its hilltop location in Fall River, the historic Durfee High School was transformed into the Fall River Trial Courthouse. Finegold Alexander worked closely with DCAMM, the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts Historic Commission to develop the best adaptive reuse solution. Extensive reconfiguration was necessary to meet the diverse needs of three court departments, transforming the building into a contemporary courthouse while preserving its unique historic character. The primary challenge of the project involved the development of a secure interior circulation system for judges, jurors, detainees, and the public.

(Photo credit: second exterior, final exterior - Raj Das Photography)

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66,500 SF
Adaptive Use, Renovation
Five Courtrooms, Clerk and Probation Offices, Law Library, Jury Pool, Detention Areas
1998 DCPO Excellence in Public Design and Construction
1997 Preservation Award, Massachusetts Historical Commission
2007 AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice, Certificate of Merit
2008 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Award in Excellence
2008 Division of Capital Asset Management, Excellence Award for Study
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View of demolition at assembly space of the former Durfee High School. Four of the facility's five courtrooms are located on a new fourth floor. The fourth floor was created by inserting an interstitial floor in the school's former double-height assembly space.

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