Miami courthouse from arq 9750 4 154a resized

Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Federal Courthouse

Project Facts

Location Miami, Florida
Owner U.S. General Services Administration - Region 4 (Southeast Sunbelt - AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN)



About the project

Walter P Moore provided structural engineering design services for this Federal Courthouse This project required significantly enhanced security design due to its importance within the judicial system

The courthouse provides 16 courtrooms, court clerk’s office, and offices for U.S. Marshal’s Service including a firing range. A secure underground tunnel connects to the existing courthouse and jail. Construction of the $163 million facility began in July 2002.

Significant blast resistance was required for the building design. The criteria included hardening of the building exterior and the design of the primary structure for progressive collapse as specified by the GSA Security Criteria. Blast-effected beams, slabs and columns were designed to withstand the loss of critical structural members and selected concrete columns were provided with steel jackets to resist blast loads.

The selection of the appropriate structural system to meet all of these critical blast requirements, as well as the usual courthouse design constraints including clear span, high ceiling courtrooms, secure holdings areas, depressed floor system.  Extensive studies were performed of the structural frame concluding with a post-tensioned clear span beam system as the most durable, adaptable and economical structure. To further complicate the structural design, the building exterior and structure were designed to meet a Category 5 hurricane.