Los Angeles

Key Players

Owner County of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Works

Lead Design Firm AC Martin Partners Inc.

Contractor Clark Construction Group

MEP Engineers Syska Hennessy Group; Simon Wong & Associates Inc.

Historic Rehabilitation Consultant Levin & Associates Architects 

Restoration of the Beaux-Arts-style Hall of Justice aimed to return the building to prominence as an architectural symbol of judicial history in Los Angeles. Damaged beyond repair in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1925 structure sat dormant for 20 years.

The design-build restoration included a complex structural retrofit. Crews added concrete shear walls and drag beams on each floor and manually installed more than 10 miles of rebar through holes cut in the slabs. Interior light courts were reinforced by a system of strongbacks tied into the masonry with nearly 60,000 helical anchors. Contractors also installed new central HVAC systems, modern lighting controls and a destination dispatch system for elevators.

To bring the interior layout up to date, the team removed jail cells from the top floors to create additional space for new offices.

During construction, contractors discovered that all the steel-frame members, buried in concrete fireproofing, were coated in lead-based paint. To protect workers from hazardous materials while maintaining the project schedule, the team decided to work down from the top of the building, removing lead paint as they progressed. This strategy required new protocols for working, testing and cleaning in a hazardous environment.