Green Municipal

Lowell Justice Center Achieves LEED Platinum

Lowell Justice Center / Photo by Anton Grassl Photograpy

Lowell, MA – Finegold Alexander Architects announces the LEED-Platinum certification of the newly constructed Lowell Justice Center in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, the Office of Courts Management, ARUP Engineers, ART Engineers, Nitsch Engineers, Copley Wolff Design Group, The Green Engineer, and Dimeo Construction.

Lowell Justice Center is the first LEED-Platinum certified courthouse in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as the first new state courthouse to achieve this certification in the United States.

Lowell Justice Center interior courtroom

The 265,000sf, $146 million new-construction building opened its doors in March 2020. The 21st -century, modern courthouse is located on a 3.2-acre site at the northern edge of the Hamilton Canal District, within the Lowell National Historic Park.

Among the various building features contributing to the LEED-Platinum certification are a chilled beam HVAC system, an air displacement system, photo-voltaic panels, highly insulated walls, and a building envelope with glazing that allows for abundant natural light to flow into the courtrooms, private areas behind the courtrooms, judges’ chambers, jury deliberation rooms, and transaction areas. Additionally, the mechanical and lighting systems in place target performance that is 45% better than current code.

“Attaining LEED-Platinum for the Lowell Justice Center showcases what’s possible, and necessary, for civic structures and specifically for judicial spaces,” said Moe Finegold, FAIA, principal in charge for Finegold Alexander Architects. “This new-construction project underscores the importance of infusing sustainability into goals that accomplish functionality, maintainability, accessibility, security, and a sense of individual dignity through design.”

This 7-story center, which replaces three dysfunctional older courthouses, features a work of art by Martin Donlin, an artist from the U.K. The entire 2-story glass entrance facade of the justice center depicts the multiculturalism of Lowell with quotations about justice in four languages and includes dynamically placed groups of people. The concept also recalls Lowell’s industrial history and its now burgeoning new research facilities.

The courthouse contains the operations of the Superior, District, Housing, Juvenile, Probate and Family Courts. It also includes office space for court staff, a Court Service Center, Law Library, Registry of Deeds, Office of the District Attorney, and a Grand Jury Room, with a total of 17 courtrooms and associated detainee holding cells.