Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building + US Courthouse Modernization / Addition
Bangor, Maine / United States of America
The 1968 Courthouse is an important example of regional mid-century architecture. The renovation/addition/preservation design compliments the original building with a simple palette, integrating new elements while optimizing re-use of existing. Our charge was to:
- Restore “distinguishing architectural features” (canopies, façade);
- Create a new “first impression” by adding an entry pavilion to consolidate formerly separate Court and Post Office entries, and incorporate new security;
- Renovate circulation and offices throughout;
- Add District/Magistrate Courtrooms;
- Replace MEP/Life-Safety systems;
- Achieve LEED Platinum.
The beacon-like Pavilion is a transparent jewel in contrast to the opaque existing building. It slips behind “historic” canopies and spans across flanking intimate gardens - as a bridge marking entry into the domain of the Courthouse. The pavilion is conceived as a lightweight, simply and delicately detailed reinterpretation of the white concrete frame and cornice of the original building. Despite its blast-resistance, the super-light structure is designed with exceptionally thin profiles, and superbly crafted and assembled with low-iron, low-reflectance glass in a point-supported glazing system.
The original Court/Office Entry was small and cluttered with signage and security equipment, and did not provide a fitting Courthouse entry. However, the former Postal Lobby was one of the building’s significant spaces. Since Postal was moving out, this space was re-purposed to create a new post-security Arrival Hall that links the transformed Court/Office Lobby and new Social Security Lobby. The Hall walls mirror the solid/glazed elevation of the exterior wall creating an arcade-like alternating rhythm of deeply textured precast concrete and etched glass panels recognizing Margaret Chase Smith’s achievements. Murals terminate views at each end of the Hall - Yvonne Jaquette’s “Autumn Expansion” was professionally conserved and reinstalled with new lighting at the Court/Office Lobby, while Tim Rollins’ and Kids of Survival “Declaration of Conscience”, a mural created with local school kids, terminates the view at the new Social Security Lobby.
Architect of Recordexp
Associate Architectamec foster wheeler
ContractorU.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
General ContractorConsigli Construction
- Studeoverde Landscape
- Steinkamp Photography