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While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Darre’ll Alston. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.
Last Updated: 5/1/11 by Darre’ll Alston
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Rounded Rectangle: Jacksonville, FloridaDuval County Unified Courthouse FacilityConstruction Management Darre'll AlstonRounded Rectangle: Special Thanks To:

General Building Information:


Project Team Background:











The Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility is a very dignified and symbolic building.  Its representation is to display and execute justice, balance, and freedom.  The architecture for this structure is modeled after early Greek temples.  In the temples, court procedures were carried out to maintain law and order within the society. 

Many courthouses today are inspired by these early civilization ancestors.  Influence can be witnessed by the basic building material of the white concrete façade that the Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility exhibits.  This exterior is considered pure and uncontaminated of impurities from which is a positive moral to be instilled in structure.  Also the modern Doric columns that promenade the building add to the Greek impact.  These columns responsibilities were to sustain building structure while being a welcoming presence.  When analyzing this building, a tremendous meaning can be found.  From the South viewpoint, a small Greek temple resemblance introduces its occupants before entering. Once the occupant has traveled through the first interior, he or she is then in the main focal point of a larger Greek temple that holds the center of the building (reference Figure 1.).  This proves that the Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility models itself after Louis Sullivan’s “form follows function.”











Figure 1. Greek temple models at center focal points.

New influences of our modern day society can also be observed through “form follows function” within the Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility.  Next to the second building material of concrete, the building utilizes glass. The structure takes glass and inflicts the meaning of “seeing truth and justice” to be the foundation of principle.   This property of glass transparency similarly allows for a truth of guidance of light from which the Greeks also admired. 

The Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility takes on its own name following the Unified characteristic.  This building is able to unify the past influences with present day features giving a theme to today’s architecture. 

A power of hierarchy seems to follow the layout of the Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility.  The first floor plan contains system maintenance and office support as its focus.  This is necessary for guidance if its occupants needed help with traveling and system actions.  There is a consistency of courtroom and justice proceeding spaces throughout the second to fifth floor which correlate to the main function of the building. But on the third to fifth floor basic needs of the public are taken away to distinguish between floor responsibilities. The sixth floor is comprised of attorney and court official offices with courtrooms.  This floor shows a difference in need of function relative to the other floor plans and is more simplified and extracts more public matters.  Finally, the seventh floor plan allots spaces for judicial and chief justices. This floor plan is meant for the higher authority of the building’s function. Despite the hierarchy transition, most of the floor plans follow a similar symmetrical blueprint (reference Figure 2.).   The authority grows as the floors are tracked from bottom to top which is impacted in our business society today.










Figure 2. Typical floor plan layout.



Building Codes:

*International & Florida Compliance*

Florida Building Code:                                                   2007 Edition

Fire Safety:                                                           2007 Florida Fire Protection Code

                                                                              2006 Edition NFPA 101

Mechanical Code:                                               2007 Florida Mechanical Code

Plumbing Code:                                                  2007 Florida Plumbing Code

Electrical Code:                                                  2007 National Electrical Code

Accessibility Code: Americans with Disabilities Act 1990

Zoning Requirements:

According to Florida’s building codes, the Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility has no zoning area and height requirements due to its Type 1A Construction.   Differing zoning requirements can be observed within the City of Jacksonville’s regulations under the classification of Commercial Community General-1.  This classification states that the structure should follow height regulations not exceeding sixty feet.  These differences in requirements are currently being examined by the project manager of the project to confirm the accurate procedure.  As of now, an exemption from the City of Jacksonville’s zoning requirements is to be assumed. 

Historical Requirements:

*No historical requirements were subjected to this project*

Building Enclosure:

The Duval County Unified Courthouse’s enclosure is comprised of two main building materials – precast concrete paneling and glass (reference Figure 3.).  The façade consisting of the precast concrete paneling is made up of a seven-inch thick limestone aggregate concrete mixture.  The strength is 5,000 psi under normal weight concrete which aids in external loading against the building that the area experiences.  The glass is one-inch thick high performance insulated thermal glazing.  This building entails three types of glazing – spandrel, storefront vision, and curtain wall vision (reference Figure 4 & Figure 5.).  These specifications take external and internal influences into effect to accommodate for occupant viewing while maintaining proper thermal and optical values along with wind achieving 120MPH.  A curtain wall can be noted on the south and north face of the building.  They both are supported by silicon treated one-inch deep mullion caps.













Figure 3. Concrete paneling and glass façade.















Figure 4. & Figure 5. Glazing types: CWV-Curtain Wall Vision, SFV-Storefront Vision, and SG-Spandrel Glazing


Two types of roofing systems exist within the Duval County Unified Courthouse project – flat roof and steep roof.  The steep roof systems are present on the two temple-like structures of the building.  These systems are suited best here due to its central location to distribute run-off away from the structure.  The material property is aluminum metal seam standing which is supported with a gutter body, waterproof membrane, and metal frame sheathing (reference Figure 6.). This system involves a NVS Concrete Aggregate Insulation supported by a polystyrene insulation board.   The flat roof systems are made up of lightweight limestone aggregate concrete.  Support for this system comes with a roof membrane, scupper for water-drainage, and thee-inch insulation (reference Figure 7.). 












Figure 6 & Figure 7.  Steep roof and Flat roof section cuts.

Sustainability Features:

The city of Jacksonville and Turner Construction have set forth that the Duval County Unified Courthouse to finish with LEED Certification.  They plan to reach this goal through LEED categories of recycled content of materials, regional materials, certified wood, low-emitting materials, site disturbance, construction waste management, and construction indoor air quality management.  The credits awarded to the Duval County Unified Courthouse are as followed:


Credit MR 2.1 and 2.2: Proposed Waste management plan

Credit MR 3.1 and 3.2: Proposed Salvaged and Refurbished materials

Credit MR 4.1 and 4.2: Proposed Materials with Recycled content

Credit MR 5.1 and 5.2: Proposed Regionally manufactured materials and regionally extracted,  harvested, or recovered materials.

Credit MR 7.0: Proposed certified wood products

Credit EQ 3.1: Construction indoor air quality management plan

Credit WE 2.0, 3.1, and 3.2: Plumbing Fixtures Water Consumption

Prerequisite EA 3.0: New HVAC with Absence of CFC refrigerants

Credit EA 5.0: Metering building energy and water consumption performance

Credit EQ 1: Carbon dioxide monitoring system and outdoor airflow measuring stations

Credit EQ 4.1: Adhesive and sealant on interior of building VOC content

Credit EQ 4.2: VOC content on paints and coatings used on interior

Credit EQ 4.3: VOC content on carpet products

Credit EQ 4.4: No urea-formaldehyde on composite wood and agrifiber products

Credit EQ 6.2: Sensor and Control system for individual airflow and temperature for min. of 50% of non-perimeter

Credit EQ 7: Sensor and control system to monitor and control room temperature and humidity

Credit SS 5.1: Comply with requirements of Division 01

Building Statistics

Part 1

Rounded Rectangle: MAIN LINKS

Senior Thesis

The Pennsylvania State University

Architectural Engineering

AE Computer Lab

Contact Darre’ll

Project Name:

Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility


Jacksonville, Florida

Occupant Name:

City of Jacksonville


798,000 square feet

Story Levels:

Seven (total)


A-3:    Assembly


I-3:     Institutional


B:       Business


S-2:    Storage

Dates of Construction:

May 2009-May 2012

Overall Project Cost:

$224 Million

Project Delivery Method:



City of Jacksonville

General Contractor: 

Turner Construction Company


KBJ Architects, INC


TLC Engineering for Architecture

Fire Protection:

TLC Engineering for Architecture

Voice and Audio:

TLC Engineering for Architecture


TLC Engineering for Architecture


Civil Services, INC


McVeigh & Mangum Engineering, INC


FLAGG Design Studio, LLC



Building Statistics





Final Report


Final Presentation