Three Columns at Robert H. Jackson U.S. Courthouse

Submitted by Charlotte Cohen

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Client: United States Courts (Second Circuit and Western District)

Location: Buffalo, NY, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $415,000

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Charlotte Cohen

GSA Art in Architecture Program

Architect

William Pedersen

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF)

Artist

Robert Mangold

Other

General Contractor:

Mascaro Construction Company LLP

Industry Resource

Erica Behrens, Director, NY Office

Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc. Art Glass and Mosaic

Other

Construction Manager Adviser to GSA:

Cannon Design

Other

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineers:

Arthur Metzler & Associates

Overview

The 10-story Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse in Buffalo, New York, creates a striking enhancement to the local skyline, gracing downtown with its prominence and unique profile. The design expresses the dignity and the transparency of the federal judicial system while accommodating the space needs of the U.S. District Court and court-related agencies.

Goals

Commissioned by the GSA's Art-in-Architecture program, Buffalo-area native and artist Robert Mangold created abstract imagery for the 16 stained glass windows, yet these carefully balanced forms relate to the design, function, and symbolism of a courthouse: formally, the windows are about equilibration and resolution—as is the administration of law.

Process

Although Mangold works primarily as a painter, his conversations with architect William Pedersen led to the idea for tall, columnar windows in the courthouse’s triangular entry pavilion. For Mangold, it was important to maintain the hand-drawn quality of the lines (the concept originated in a painting series predating the GSA commission), and he worked closely with Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc. Architectural Glass in Germany to achieve this goal.

Additional Information

Although the colors Mangold chose are not symbolic or specifically referential to anything, they echo the western New York landscape, including the ever-changing foliage and the deep waters of Lake Erie. Mangold inscribed a series of gentle S-curves within the vertically oriented panes of the pavilion’s curtain wall. These intersecting lines establish harmonic visual relationships among the windows.