Oregon Supreme Court Rehabilitation Honored with Top Preservation Award

By Hennebery Eddy

view from the top landing of an interior grand staircase with a large glass art installation suspended from the ceiling

Hennebery Eddy Architects’ interior modernization and seismic retrofit of the c.1914 Oregon Supreme Court Building was recognized with a 2023 DeMuro Award for preservation excellence by Restore Oregon. This marks the seventh time in eight years the firm has won a DeMuro Award — the state’s highest honor for the preservation, reuse, and revitalization of architectural and cultural sites.

front entrance of historic three-story courthouse with two flagpoles

The Oregon Supreme Court is oldest surviving government building on the Capitol Mall in Salem. Designed in the Beaux Arts style, it features terra cotta, marble, and mahogany, with an abundance of classical detailing and an historically significant stained-glass laylight in the courtroom. Modernization included energy-efficiency updates and a new base-isolation foundation system for seismic resilience. Material salvage and reuse was employed wherever possible to preserve the building’s historic character while also contributing to low embodied energy and carbon. Spaces were meticulously preserved by adhering to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and exceeding the State of Oregon’s SEED requirements for sustainability. Successfully listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of this project, the Oregon Supreme Court is now one of only two LEED Gold-certified, historic, and base-isolated buildings in the nation (and the first in Oregon).

DeMuro award winners are selected by a jury of top professionals in the field of historic preservation; this year’s 14 award recipients were chosen based on each project’s positive impact on their community and for the ways they inspire others to reuse historic places as a measurable climate sustainability practice. Like the Oregon Supreme Court, all the DeMuro Award winners show that existing buildings are not only full of history, craftsmanship, and charm — they are also the most sustainable.

view of courtroom toward the Supreme Court bench and showing the interior stained-glass laylight above

Congratulations to the Oregon Judicial Department, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, and the entire project team: Forell | Elsesser Engineers, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Interface Engineering, Hoffman Construction, Knot Studio, The Harver Company, Portland Coatings/Williamsen & Bleid, JS Perrot, EC Company, Hydro-Temp Mechanical, and Pence/Kelly Concrete.

The Oregon Supreme Court Building’s DeMuro Award will be officially presented at Restore Oregon’s annual Restoration Celebration in September. The project, which celebrated its grand re-opening this spring, has earned two other awards so far this year: the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California’s Award of Excellence in Engineering Design, Existing Building/Historic Renovation Category; and the Excellence in Concrete Award from the Oregon Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association.