Fresno United States Courthouse

The facade is the link that balances this courthouse’s location in Central Valley with a structure also capable of representing law at the Federal level. With a building skin of vertical and horizontal patterned precast panels and transparent glass, the facility replicates elements of Fresno’s tree-lined foothills and nearby Sierra Nevada Mountain range. With two orientations, the surface area is able to show variations in its patterns throughout different times of the day, similar to the rugged terrain surrounding its site. Lower floor panels include rougher surface areas to further exaggerate the building’s natural appearance.

The L-shaped structure runs parallel to two railroad lines that shape the city’s grid, making acoustic properties a crucial element of the facade package to shield building occupants from nearby noise pollutants.

Standardized panel sizes helped speed the erection process and maximized efficiency. Hybrid panels were used sporadically for aesthetic purposes or at areas of increased blast resistant significance.

The Fresno United States Courthouse is the tallest building within the city, and is designed to have a lifespan over 100 years.



Facade Area:

150,000 sq ft


Fresno, CA




225 ft


General Services Administration

General Contractor:

Dick Corporation, Matt Construction


Gruen Associates, Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners


John A. Martin & Associates

Facade Consultant:

Curtainwall Design Consulting


Design Excellence Award
GSA Honor Awards, 2007

American Architecture Award
Chicago Athenaeum, 2006

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Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse

Capitol Area East End Complex

United States Census Bureau Headquarters