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Davenport U.S. Federal Court


Located in a 1930s building that housed both the post office and courthouse, the Davenport U.S. Federal Courthouse faced several demands. Continued caseload growth, inadequate space for court operations and aging infrastructure demanded that an area be dedicated solely to courts. The outdated building needed to be renovated and modernized to meet current and future requirements while preserving the historic materials and fixtures featured throughout.

Hoping to convert the existing post office and courthouse into the new Davenport U.S. Federal Courthouse, the client had a list of challenges that needed to be addressed with a renovation: insufficient building systems, limited space and non-compliant circulation routes.


Shive-Hattery design team members (while working with another firm) worked closely with the client to create a new courts experience through architecture. They began by analyzing the court’s evolving program needs and translated that information into current and future space requirements. The goal was to provide the building with new life while preserving its past.

The $12.2 million design included renovation of 75,320 square feet of existing space to create two new courtrooms, three judges’ chambers and associated support areas, and new office space. A 2,230-square-foot expansion was added to provide an area for prisoner detention and to allow for increased accessibility.

Significant original interior features were exposed and restored; a new textured glass wall parallels the original public lobby. The new vertical circulation addition enhances campus security and provides accessible circulation for various types of users throughout the courthouse.


The court system now has a building that meets its space, circulation and security needs. By remodeling and repurposing interior spaces, the work environment and overall health of the Davenport U.S. Federal Court has dramatically improved.

In 2007, this building was one of 27 designs showcased by the AIA Academy of Architecture of Justice for its exemplary strategies and incorporation of the latest justice facility design and construction trends. The Davenport U.S. Federal Court design received one of eight citations awarded for the highest level of architectural and design excellence.
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