Oregon Supreme Court Receives 2023 Best of Design Award from The Architect’s Newspaper

By Hennebery Eddy

front entrance of historic three-story courthouse with two flagpoles

The historic Oregon Supreme Court received a 2023 Best of Design Award from The Architect’s Newspaper in the Restoration and Preservation category, recognizing Hennebery Eddy’s transformative rehabilitation of the oldest government building on the state’s capitol mall. The project was one of 37 projects from around the world honored in this year’s awards program.

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

Awards juror and AN executive editor Jack Murphy noted, “This effort sensitively maintains a historic judicial building while expertly upgrading it to be base isolated to protect the building during a seismic event—a thorough act of care for an important structure.”

“…a thorough act of care for an important structure.”

— Jack Murphy, executive editor, The Architect’s Newspaper

The detailed interior modernization of the 1914 building rehabilitates the historic character-defining features of the Beaux Arts-style design by regional architect W.C. Knighton and significantly enhances safety and accessibility for the 60 individuals integral to Oregon’s highest courts. The four-story, 50,000-square-foot building features marble and mahogany, abundant classical detailing, a grand staircase, and an historically significant Povey Brothers stained-glass laylight in the courtroom. The Oregon Supreme Court is protected for future generations through the project team’s work, including selective demolition, sensitively integrating structural upgrades and MEP replacements to preserve character-defining features, renovating first-floor office space, restoring historic interior finishes, and successfully nominating this landmark to the National Register of Historic Places.

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

Following our rehabilitation and seismic retrofit using a base isolation system that will keep the building functional for immediate occupancy and operations after a significant earthquake, the Oregon Supreme Court building is one of only two LEED Gold-certified, historic, base-isolated buildings in the nation and is the first in Oregon.

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 Architect’s Newspaper 2023 Best of Design Awards were judged by a jury of eight architects, designers, instructors, and journalists using a range of diverse criteria including sustainability, innovation, and design. A full list of award-winning projects can be found on the awards program website.