William J. Nealon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

General Services Administration, Scranton, Pennsylvania

The Federal Judiciary and the General Services Administration have underaken a nationwide program to modernize and expand courthouse infrastructure. A state-of-the-art Federal courthouse must deal effectively with complex and contradictory requirements. It should reflect both local context and national values, while openly welcoming users. These humane qualities must coexist within a system of extraordinary security and technical support. Efficient Federal Marshals' operations, isolated circulation, and dignified but secure public access are crucial. Exceptional acoustic, lighting, communication and ADA systems are required for trials.

The $34 million Scranton Federal Courthouse is a prototypical project, among the first Federal Courthouses in its size category to deal simultaneously with historic restoration and new construction. A skylit atrium joins the new building to the historic structure to create a focus of public circulation for the complex. The atrium creates a major civic space while minimizing changes to the historic fabric. Careful linking through discretely placed bridges provides a comprehensive approach to secure and separate circulation systems between the two structures.

Fronting on Scranton's Courthouse Square and its Romanesque county courthouse, the historic Federal Building receives a great deal of internal traffic, particularly to access its postal facilities.The Courts wished to continue easy Post Office access through the existing lobby to reinforce the community's sense of civic ownership and participation. This was achieved by extending the historic lobby into the new building and using the two lobbies as queuing space for the secure entrance into the new atrium and the courts beyond.


2001 Award of Excellence
AIA Northeastern Pennsylvania
2001 National Award, I.D.E.A.S. Competition
American Institute of Steel Construction
2000 Merit Award for Design
AIA Pennsylvania
2000 Tucker Architectural Design Award
Building Stone Institute
2000 Citation
U.S. General Services Administration, 2000 GSA Design Awards
1999 Community Award
Scranton Chamber of Commerce
1998 Citation
U.S. General Services Administration, 1998 GSA Design Awards
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Client: Other projects for General Services Administration