May 23, 2019

Sotomayor Marks Dedication of Carr Judicial Center

By Sara Crocker

Sotomayor1As a child, Sonia Sotomayor never dreamed of becoming a lawyer, let alone a U.S. Supreme Court justice — until she was introduced to Perry Mason, the fictional L.A. defense attorney of TV.

“Watching Perry Mason taught me about something called lawyering,” she said, adding the show “exposed me to this different career and I started to examine and think about it as a possibility for myself.”

Sotomayor joined Chief Justice Michael Bender and Gov. John Hickenlooper to dedicate the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center on Thursday. Before the official dedication, she met with 100 students from around the state, as well as their family members and state legislators, to talk with them and hear their questions.

Students asked Sotomayor everything from whether she sometimes feels that she has too much power to how she coped with losing her father at the age of 9. Throughout the discussion, she encouraged students to take chances and to follow their passion, whatever that may be.

“The hardest thing to do is take chances when you can fail,” she said, but the way to alleviate that fear is to learn.

“The world opened for me when I read,” Sotomayor said. “When I found books, I found my rocket ship to the universe.”

Bender called Sotomayor a “rockstar” and praised her for her dedication to youth and ensuring that they were a part of the dedication of the judicial center. The chief justice also took time to recognize the building’s namesake, the late Gov. Ralph L. Carr, who spoke out against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

“Governor Carr was the only person of any political stature who stood up for those who were unjustly interned. He did so against overwhelming public opinion and he did so in a way that actually destroyed his political career,” Bender said. “He is somebody that we all should be inspired by.”

Guests at the dedication included people who were at Japanese internment camps in Colorado, former governors, legislators, and judges and justices from around the state.

Sotomayor2During the dedication ceremony, Sotomayor compared the judicial center with her own courthouse in Washington. Sotomayor, a lover of architecture, said courthouses embody the important work done within them.

The new center, called a 100-year building because the judicial branch plans to grow with the building, sits across from the Capitol at 2 E. 14th Ave. The $258-million building features airy spaces with natural light flowing from the atrium, and the accompanying high-rise houses approximately 1,200 judicial branch employees.

“This center will live it’s intended 100 years with dignity, but its message, like that of my court, will live through the centuries, carried by the memory of all who have walked its halls and felt its impact,” Sotomayor said.

Sara Crocker is the communications specialist for the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations and the editor of The Docket.

Inside the Infill: The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, Part 3

Editor’s Note: This is the last of three posts highlighting the new judicial center.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this “Inside the Infill” series, we looked at how construction is coming along on the State of Colorado’s new 695,000 square foot, $260 million, LEED-Gold judicial center in Denver’s Civic Center district. In this Part 3, it’s all about the view. As the tallest building along the southern edge of Civic Center Park, the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center will provide employees and visitors with awesome views of central Denver in all directions. Here are a few of my and Ryan’s favorites from our recent tour.

Top: View to the north at the upper end of Downtown. Bottom: View to the southeast at part of the Capitol Hill district.

Top: View to the northeast at part of the Uptown district. Bottom: View to the northeast at the State Capitol.

Top: A zoomed-in view to the northwest down the new 14th Street. Bottom: View to the northwest at the City & County Building, with the Colorado Convention Center, Pepsi Center, and Elitch Gardens beyond.

Top: View to the southwest at part of the library/art museum facilities and Golden Triangle district. Bottom: View to the south at the ING/Security Life Building across 13th Avenue.

Neat reflection in that last photo, eh?

We’re not quite done. The Ralph Carr isn’t the only new building with a nice view. Here’s a bonus photo of a view from the outdoor terrace at the new History Colorado Center:

Sweet!

Ken Schroeppel is the founder and administrator of the DenverInfill website and companion site, DenverUrbanism. Ken is a planner and project manager at Matrix Design Group, a Denver-based planning and engineering consulting firm, where he specializes in redevelopment and urban renewal planning. He contributes to the DenverInfill Blog, where this post originally appeared on September 28, 2011.

Inside the Infill: The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, Part 2

Editor’s Note: This is the second of three posts highlighting the new judicial center.

Just a block away from History Colorado Center is the State of Colorado’s new judicial complex, officially known as the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. Ryan just posted Part 1 of this “Inside the Infill” feature, so here’s a second dose of infill goodness for you to enjoy. Rumor has it there may be a Part 3!

The Ralph Carr Judicial Center is already making an impact on the Civic Center skyline, and I like it. The architecture is classic Neoclassical, with marble columns and all. The state courts wanted a building that communicated a stately, civic presence on par with (and visually oriented towards) the State Capitol, and they are getting it. But despite the Ralph Carr’s architectural gravitas, I find its contemporary touches and generous fenestration (for this style) welcome features that give the building an inspiring, approachable quality. And it’s not even finished yet. Kudos to Denver’s Fentress Architects for designing a building that is clearly worthy to take its place at Denver’s hallowed ground, Civic Center. Our thanks to Trammell Crow and Mortenson Construction for the tour.

I like the exterior materials too. A light gray granite wraps the 4-story courthouse wing as well as the lower levels of the 12-story office tower, and pre-cast panels complete the upper floors of the tower. They work well together to give the complex a unified visual appearance, while exposing pedestrians to the high-quality material like granite we expect in important government buildings. Here’s a view (an inner courtyard along Broadway) of the vertical transition from granite to pre-cast panels. The darker-gray window glazing complements both materials. This wasn’t intentional, but I now notice the nice reflection in the window of perhaps Denver’s best light gray granite-clad modern building, Republic Plaza:

The office tower incorporates into both its north and south facades the columnar form, with vertical glass “columns” in between adding a modern gesture.

Before we we went up to the project’s upper floors, we saw a quick preview of Mortenson’s digital planroom technology. More on that in a future post. Then we took a ride in the construction elevator “cage” that climbs up the outside of the building:

From the 12th floor, here’s a nice view of the two courthouse domes: the smaller one in the foreground will be centered above the Colorado Supreme Court courtroom, and the larger one will cover the grand atrium. On the right, a stack of windows are being lifted up by a crane while traffic below on Broadway goes about its business:

From the Supreme Court’s fourth-floor atrium entrance, here’s the symbolic view looking back at the statehouse. Once all the scaffolding and temporary window supports are removed, this will appear as one big window offering one fantastic view of our state’s beautiful gold-domed Capitol.

Finally, while we now have real-life views of this project to observe, I recently ran across some additional renderings of the project I hadn’t seen before. They can be viewed here.

PS. If you don’t know who Ralph Carr is and why he is worthy of having a justice center named after him, please go here.

Ken Schroeppel is the founder and administrator of the DenverInfill website and companion site, DenverUrbanism. Ken is a planner and project manager at Matrix Design Group, a Denver-based planning and engineering consulting firm, where he specializes in redevelopment and urban renewal planning. He contributes to the DenverInfill Blog, where this post originally appeared on September 27, 2011.

Inside the Infill: The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, Part 1

Editor’s Note: This is the first of three posts highlighting the new judicial center.

By Ryan Dravitz

Next on our ‘Inside the Infill’ tour we will be taking a look at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. Every week this project is changing and we now have an exclusive inside look!

Thank you once again to the folks at Trammell Crow Company for making this tour possible.

First up, the 12-story office tower. On the left, this is what you would see when going into the back entrance located at 13th Avenue and Broadway. To the right is what you would first walk in to. Yes, there will be a security check point but what is unique about this complex is that you will be inside when you are waiting to get screened separate from both the elements and the lobby.

Looking down the lobby area (left) you have the waiting area for security as well as elevator access just down the hall. Up and away we go to the top floor where they are starting to complete the columns of the office tower. There were spectacular views from the top which we will have a post dedicated to coming up soon.

There is a section of the building connecting the courts to the office tower. Here you will be greeted by a 4-story atrium with a glass roof and solid glass wall. In the picture on the right, the gaps you see in the floor will be for a staircase connecting the floors.

The Supreme Court is spectacular with a glass dome above where you would stand in front of the justices. You also get a great view of the office tower.

The lobby of the courts will be complete with real stone columns in the front and a two-story entrance with a giant court seal. The court side of the complex also comes complete with judges quarters.

Keep your eyes peeled for more shots of this great project as well as a special look at the never before seen views!

Ryan Dravitz is a bicycle-wielding urban photographer and student studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management with the potential for future studies in Urban Planning. Ken Schroeppel is the founder and administrator of the DenverInfill website and companion site, DenverUrbanism. Ken is a planner and project manager at Matrix Design Group, a Denver-based planning and engineering consulting firm, where he specializes in redevelopment and urban renewal planning. They contribute to the DenverInfill Blog, where this post originally appeared on September 26, 2011.