William K. Nakamura
Federal Courthouse

Seattle, WA

United States General Services Administration

Renovation and addition
178,000 gsf
76,000 sf Court of Appeals
21,000 sf tenant space


  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Exterior and Courtyard
  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Entry
  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Lobby
  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Court Room
  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Interior
  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Jury Box
  • WK Nakamura Courthouse Court Room

The William K. Nakamura Courthouse occupies a full-block site in downtown Seattle opposite the Central Library. Constructed in 1939, it is a nationally designated landmark structure and the country’s second single-use courthouse.

Previously designed as a district courthouse, the building’s configuration and services did not suit the modern needs of its new tenant, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Of critical concern: all interventions must be sensitive to the existing structure and preserve landmarked features and materials.

Weinstein A+U was commissioned to transform this important facility into a state-of-the-art complex. The project included: replacement of electrical and mechanical systems, seismic upgrade, modifications/upgrades to space for the Court of Appeals as well as to office space slated for a future government tenant. There was also a provision for secure parking and upgrades to improve accessibility and security. A secure parking garage was inserted under the existing lawn and monumental stairs with minimal modification to important landscape features.

Three of the five historic courtrooms were revised to accommodate the Appeals Court. Two were converted into a law library reading room and a large conference room.

Best Public Building, Northwest Construction Best of 2009
LEED Certified

Photography: © Michael Burns