United States Courthouse, Islip

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United States Courthouse, Islip
United States Courthouse
Islip, New York

Located in Central Islip, Long Island, north of the Southern State Parkway and adjacent to the existing county courthouse, this federal courthouse takes advantage of panoramic views over both Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The 12-story building was placed on a podium to give it a presence on an otherwise flat and undifferentiated exurban site. Visitors ascend two wide tiers of steps and enter the building through a 9-storey, monumental, top-lit rotunda in the form of an opaque cone clad in white metal panels. The rest of the south elevation consists of a curtain wall that allows light into the corridors and permits uninterrupted views of the ocean. A granite-clad, east-west wall separates public circulation from the courtrooms and judges' chambers. The north facade is faced with stone and pierced by narrow horizontal windows.

The west wing of the building houses four district courts per floor, while two bankruptcy courts are located on each floor in the east wing. Both wings connect to a central, top-lit, 12-story atrium with public foyer spaces at each courtroom level that link with the adjacent cone. In response to functional and security requirements, distinct circulation zones for the public, judicial staff, and detainees were provided via a careful sequencing of layered public areas, courtrooms and judges' chambers. This building reinterprets the courthouse type to enable it to function as a new kind of civic institution, receptive to public events as well as to the formalities of the judicial process. The rational gridded plan allows for some modification of the circulation and provides for internal expansion of court facilities over a 30-year period.

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