Fall River Trial Courthouse
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.
"The project looks great. I really like that the building is very efficient and straightforward. I love the low landing at the main stair – it invites people up (not intimidating). I especially love how the utilitarian egress stair towers have been made into a very strong design element with the use of the stone facing on the interior and exterior and how those strong elements are offset by the glazing on both sides. I think the plaza is wonderful and so comfortable and accessible – there was so much to mediate with the different levels and points of access.”
- Elizabeth Minnis, AIA, Deputy Commissioner, Planning, DCAMM
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.
"That [on any given weekday, the courthouse attracts upward of 1,000 people to the district] will be an economic engine to the downtown of our city."