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Denver, Colorado, USA
When plans were drawn for the five-story, 317,000-square-foot 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 klipp Architecture Planning Interiors used this metaphor to describe not only 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 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. The use of Kawneer products helped the project with maximum daylight goals and several LEED® requirements in the Materials & Resources category by using recycled billet contributed to the requirements for recycled content.
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 has achieved 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' 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.
- The intricate design of the wall, which incorporates several setbacks, folds and slopes, posed several challenges. To maintain the integrity of the design and the concept of transparency and light, the architect did not want to incorporate a steel support behind the wall, but
rather have the wall appear to float.
- The building emphasized horizontal lines, and to create the “lens” appearance, large lites of glass approximately 9 feet by 3 feet were needed.
- The city of Denver requires all applicable new building construction and major renovations to be built and certified to at least the LEED Silver® standard and achieve Energy Star status.
- The curtain wall had to be top hung from a secondary steel structure.
- Working with the architect and Kawneer engineers, Trainor Glass created a 3D model of the wall ensuring all components could fit together and the dead load could be supported. Additionally, experts from Viracon joined the technical engineering team to help design the wall’s support system and determine the weight and flexion of the glass.
- The use of Kawneer’s 1600 SS Unitwall™ helped the project with maximum daylight goals and several LEED® requirements in the Materials & Resources category. The use of recycled billet contributed to the requirements for recycled content; additionally, the curtain wall was fabricated and glazed at Trainor’s shop, which was located less than 500 miles from the job site.
ARCHITECT: klipp Architecture Planning Interiors, Denver, Colorado
GLAZING CONTRACTOR: Trainor Glass, Denver, Colorado
Photography: © Frank Ooms
Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse [513KB]