William B. Bryant Annex – E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse

Washington, DC

Dignified civic presence within view of the U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC

Completion Date

351,000 SF

Project Type
Addition, Partial Renovation, Courthouse

Professional Credits
Associate Architect and Engineer: SmithGroup

Acknowledging civic importance

A GSA federal design excellence project, the Annex expands the 1950s Prettyman U.S. Courthouse for the United States Federal District and Appellate Courts, the highest court in the nation besides the Supreme Court.  The site is a narrow lot at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues opposite the East Wing of the National Gallery. When viewed from the Capitol, the length of the Third Street façade is as prominent as the front. We expressed the location of the courtrooms through four barrel-vaulted bays along Third Street and positioned a rotunda to engage the street edge at Pennsylvania Avenue, reinforcing Washington’s historic L’Enfant Plan.

Integrating the Annex with the original courthouse

A 24,000-SF full-height atrium connects the Annex to the Prettyman courthouse. Stairs and bridges align with the existing circulation on all levels, leading to nine new District courtrooms, one of which doubles as a Court of Appeals, and 19 chambersets for the judges. In addition to providing new secure prisoner holding areas, we reworked detention facilities in the existing building to current U.S. Marshals’ standards. The interiors of the courtrooms express the dignity of the Courts while humanizing the environment for the juries, plaintiffs and defendants.  

A 24,000-SF full-height atrium connects the Annex to the Prettyman Courthouse


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