Best New Building Miami 2007 - Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse
One of the great things about being from Miami is that we relish our quirky uniqueness. Whatever happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but whatever happens in Miami is proudly announced to the world in English and en español. Even the new federal courthouse triumphantly declares where it's located. From a distance the 578,000-square-foot building's playful geometry is obvious, and it only gets better as you draw closer. There's a subtle, nautical theme in both the architectural and landscaping elements as if a crystal ship is plowing through the waves at Fourth Street. While some of the interior design recalls Fifties/Sixties government architecture, it is nicely updated to fit into the scheme of the building and essence of the city. An eight-story blue atrium reminiscent of a water spout is the jewel in the crown. At $163 million, the blast-and-hurricane-resistant, environmentally gentle building designed by Arquitectonica did not come cheap or without lengthy construction delays. Indeed federal Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson didn't live to see the beautiful building that bears his name. But the beloved jurist and Liberty City native would likely have been proud to lend his name to what is one of the loveliest courthouses in the United States.