John Walsh Federal Courthouse

Tucson, AZ

The highly detailed renovation of the five-story, 73,000sf Federal Courthouse required the creation of a blast-proof, airtight mailroom, a new courtroom, a new legal library, offices and upgrades to mechanical systems. 


Distinctive lighting fixtures were recreated from only two existing samples by a French manufacturer, while the interior plaster was recreated to preserve the feel of the 1930’s.  As with many old buildings, asbestos abatement and lead-based paint presented many challenges in the course of renovation and repurposing portions of the old building.


The architect’s goal was to balance renovation, which required substantial modernization, with preservation, to protect specific historical aesthetics and retain the courthouse’s significance within downtown Tucson.  MCH’s specific acoustical goals involved ensuring much-improved speech intelligibility wherever possible, while incorporating period-appropriate finishes that were still acoustically efficient and cost-effective as well as mitigation of both exterior and HVAC-generated noise throughout.


“The overall excellence of the courthouse shines through in its ability to now have the function of a modern facility while retaining its historical charm” said one judge.  



Architect: Cannon Design with WRL 

Renovation Cost: $3.2 M

Visit: gsa.gov