Village Green

“ The design is deceptively simple; it understands how to use very little to create a very civic building. ”

David Adjaye GSA Awards Juror & Architect

Overlooking the only park in Downtown Bakersfield, the United States Courthouse reinterprets the quintessential courthouse on the village green. The design upholds the Design Excellence, Design Build vision of the General Services Administration and was delivered in two and a half years, $2.5 million under budget.

The courthouse design reinterprets classical public architecture precedents through a modern portico and strong sense of order. White tilt-up concrete panels express verticality and permanence —signaling that the people's place of justice will stand for the ages. Circulation spaces orient the public to the park, taking advantage of the water feature and enlivening the experience of the lobby. Connection to the landscape is framed by the colonnade of exterior tilt-up pilasters, which are then transformed on the interior to wood paneling; and the warmth of wood is carried from the interior out to the entry portico.

The courthouse is designed to accommodate a future Bankruptcy Court and its required support functions, while maintaining the integrity of both the internal and external design. When built, the second courtroom will be located on the second floor, displacing the existing Clerk’s space.

“ The Bakersfield Courthouse illustrates our nation’s commitment to future generations while respecting our history. I’m always excited when I see an extraordinarily beautiful building that embraces sustainability and clean energy to the maximum extent possible. ”

Ruth Cox GSA Regional Administrator, Pacific Rim Region

Sustainable Strategies
Sustainable Strategies
Sustainable Strategies
Sustainable Strategies


Awards and Publications


AIA Justice Facilities Review, Citation
AIA Justice Facilities Review, Jury Recognition of Innovation
ENR California, Award of Merit
General Services Administration Design Awards, Citation


Examiner, "Bakersfield U.S. courthouse combines design excellence, efficiency,” October 2012
The Kern County Business Journal, “Courthouse features energy-saving features,” October 2012
The Bakersfield Californian, "Courthouse built to last (and last),” July 2012
The Daily Beast, "Obama's Building Boom,” January 2011