Comments about ‘Nearly completed federal courthouse designed to maximize security, natural lighting’

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Published: Friday, Sept. 13 2013 2:40 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

So, so disappointed in this buidling. A monstrous, metal box, without beauty, without shape or contour, nothing inspired or inspiring. This article acknowledges that, by focusing entirely on the many practical conveniences. But what could be said? It's dumbfounding that neither designers nor city planners cared to elevate our minds or honor our past. A true travesty that Salt Lake City allowed and approved this design to go forward. We're stuck with it for decades now. And this after so much work has been done to beautify downtown. What a mistake, Salt Lake City.

Provo, UT

Looks exactly like 21st century federal justice. Impersonal. Authoritarian. Unappealing. No amount of trees, flowers or shrubs will soften its true character.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

It looks like a prison in the middle of our downtown. Sad to see this boring monolith.

Ogden, Utah

I have to agree with Sandy. This is one ugly building. It looks like something a 5 year old would come with, a box with some rectangles cut out of it. The only thing it's missing is some stick people sculptures placed around it; or have I spoken too soon.

Ogden, UT

1. This building reminds me of the big bureaucrat building in Futurama, just a soulless box (well it is a government building).

2. Look at the artistry of building of today vs 100 years ago. The buildings of today are bland and lifeless. Just big boxes with windows. The older building have much more character, design, and thought put into them. For example, look at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Granted it is a gothic type building, but there is depth, design, crafsmanship, unlike these new buildings (especially this courthouse). All this and it was done without computer architect programs. You can find examples of this in any city.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

It's as pretty as some of those Soviet era buildings you see in Russia.


I completely agree with Sandy. We drove into Salt Lake last month and I thought the building had some protective covering on it. 186 million tax dollars were spent on this ugly, sterile box? What a travesty. Not one ounce of creativity or beauty.


I must agree. I don't live in SLC, but I do love SLC. So much has been done to enhance the city in recent years. I travel for a living and I must say this is an eyesore and a blight to SLC. It would be ugly even in an industrial park. I'm sorry SLC, but the government just used 186 million dollars to build the dog of all dogs in your city.

one old man
Ogden, UT

And there are rumors that this ugly thing will be named for Orrin Hatch.

Burke, VA

So glad to see the good people of Utah are not shy about expressing their opinions regardless of how informed they may be.

"A monstrous, metal box..." While the structure may be made of steel beams and columns, what you are looking at is glass, not metal.

The complaint that the design is not as ornate as the historic courthouse to the east of this building or that it is not equal to the craftsmanship and depth of design of the Cathedral of the Madeleine is reflective of the times we live in. The cost of such a design would be prohibitive and while this building's cost is certainly not cheap, there is no way the taxpayers of the country would pay for the design elements wished for in these comments.

The tragic events of this country dating back the Oklahoma City bombings are the drivers in making this look like "impersonal and authoritarian." Think about what goes on in the courthouse and the dangers of just being there for certain procedures and maybe you can understand why the finished product looks the way it done.

The building is perfect for its function and location.

Salt Lake City, UT

$186 million just for the Federal District Court for the District of Utah? And the building doesn't even include the bankruptcy court? All built with money borrowed from the Chinese. What wastefulness. That much money could send our first family on three or four week-long, foreign vacations.

Sandy, UT

Compare the library and new public safety building with the new federal courthouse, an interesting study in how modern design can be beautiful - or go horribly wrong.

Sandy, UT


"The building is perfect for its function and location." Easy for you to say - living on the other side of the country. You do not have to look at the ugliest building in Salt Lake every day on the way into the city.

Our new public safety building and the new FBI headquarters both had to address the same security concerns. Both are attractive buildings. Salt Lake has some great architecture. Classic - Salt Lake Temple, Cathedral of the Madeline, the city/county building, the old planetarium, the soon to be old courthouse.
Modern - library, public safety building, City Creek mall, Conferences Center.

400 South West Temple? - Nothing to see here folks, keep moving.

Burke, VA

Sorry RBB. But even the public safety building of Salt Lake and the new FBI Building there didn't come close the security requirements or the interior circulation requirements of a new federal courthouse. Do some studying about the facts before your make such claims.

And by the way, I practiced architecture in SLC for 11 years and my office was across the street - Post Office Place - from where the new Courthouse now stands.


I think it could have been both more beautiful and cheaper at the same time. If the Feds reduced the amount of business the federal building does by having less federal laws; less security would be needed perhaps if the laws were seen to be more fair and less obtrusive. Just saying.


@ one old man

I'm all for calling this building Orrin Hatch, as you suggest.


It is a hideous building. Would fit right in Washington DC - which has a plethora of dull but functional space.

Charlottesville, VA

It's true that it would have been much more expensive to design it in a neoclassical style like the 1905 Moss Courthouse that it replaces.

If only we were as rich as we were back in 1905!


ECR, you may be an architect, and all you say may be true, but it doesn't change the fact that people aren't coming to your defense. This Building Is Still UGLY! Regulations have to be considered, BUT the building is bad for the eyes. Period!


I wouldn't have thought it possible to build such an ugly building with that much money in today's day and age - very disappointing indeed. Salt Lake City and the judiciary/ attorneys waited soooo long to get a new federal courthouse - to have this eye sore be the result - awful. It may be safe, and it may allow natural light, but the designer failed miserably, and whoever approved its design should be embarrassed.

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