Giving Justice the Green Light
When plans were drawn for the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver, Colorado, the idea that drove both the design and product specification was to represent the “Lantern of Justice.” Architects from Denver-based firm klipp Architecture Planning Interiors used this metaphor to describe the five-story, 317,000-square-foot building that is part of the Denver Justice System. Not only does the metaphor represent the transparent nature of justice, but it also refers to the literal translucence of the building and the significance that it has to the greater community.
The courthouse opened in July 2010 and is on track for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification. In addition to receiving positive response from the community, the building received the 2010 AIA Denver Honor Award for design excellence.
“Overall, the building is a visual success,” said Keat Tan, AIA, principal designer of the project at klipp Architecture Planning Interiors. “The sloped glass blossoms from the inside and the proportions of the atrium are absolutely perfect. I’ve stood on every level looking out and I can’t think of one thing we could have done better.”
The building itself was designed around several theoretical components that are reflected in both the materials used on the structure and the overall building function and aesthetic. Tan and his team were challenged to express their ideas in a way that corresponded with the larger design scheme of the complex and with the aesthetic of the downtown cityscape as a whole.
Articulating this idea is a folding wall of glass on the east side of the building that reaches 92 feet high. The wall, made with modified 1600 SS (Screw Spline) Unitwall™ curtain wall from Kawneer, extends from north to south forming the “lens” of the lantern.
During the day, light filters deep into the building through the glass curtain wall onto five levels of circulation, open stairs and balconies. Directly behind the curtain wall sits the “Filament of Justice,” a vertical light fixture that radiates from the inside at nighttime or when daylight is insufficient. The transparent glass façade allows the light from the building to be visible from Denver’s downtown business district as well as other prominent points throughout the area.
Features like the thermal break in Trifab® VG (VersaGlaze®) 451T Storefront help reduce energy usage and increase thermal efficiency. Additionally, 1600 Wall System®1 curtain wall outfitted with custom covers was used to create the glass façade of the building’s exterior. Both the glass façade of the building’s exterior, as well as the inner courtyard, provide occupants with increased natural daylight. Kawneer’s 350 Medium Stile Entrances were selected for the lasting quality and durability they provide. Tough yet attractive, 350 Medium Stile Entrances are designed to complement modern or traditional architecture – perfect to meet the design requirements of the Fifth District Court of Appeal.