Best Government/Public Building: Maricopa Downtown South Court Tower, Phoenix

Photo courtesy Gilbane|Ryan
The 15-story tower helped revitalize downtown Phoenix during a difficult recession.
Photo courtesy Gilbane|Ryan
The building includes 22 courtrooms and state-of-the-art security.

This high-profile and complex 15-story tower was built in a tight urban site and helped revitalize Phoenix's economy when almost no other construction was occurring downtown. Through aggressive local outreach by the project team, 97% of subcontractors and vendors came from Arizona, along with many of the materials such as copper and aggregates.

Some in the Phoenix community questioned the need for such an elaborate public building at a time when many agencies were running out of money, but the project team maintained a high level of transparency to gain public acceptance.

Designed for 100 years of service to the community, this LEED-Silver building features flexibility in its 22 courtrooms, mechanical systems and technology. Security is state of the art and includes fingerprint and eye-scanning readers, flexible control schemes and a tunnel to transport prisoners securely from the existing county campus.

The team used integrated project delivery and building information modeling extensively, which encouraged deep collaboration that included many of the subs. Early adoption of a shared Revit model allowed for value analysis and offsite prefabrication that saved $30 million over alternate construction schemes. Laser scanning helped coordinate underground piping and connections to the tunnel.

Key Players

Contractor: Gilbane Building Co. & Ryan Cos., Phoenix

Owner: Maricopa County, Phoenix

Lead Design: Gould Evans & AECOM, Phoenix

Structural Engineer: Paragon Structural Design, Phoenix

Civil Engineer: PK Kland, Scottsdale, Ariz.

MEP: Syska Hennessy Group, San Diego, Calif.

Subcontractors: Suntec Concrete,Phoenix; Schuff Steel, Phoenix; Kovach Inc., Chandler, Ariz.; University Mechanical, Tempe, Ariz.;Rosendin Electric, Tempe, Ariz.

Submitted by Gilbane Building Co.

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