the Colaborative Inc

Binghampton Federal Building & Courthouse

Client: General Services Administration

Site: Binghamton, New York

The Federal Building in Binghamton, New York is a three-story limestone-clad building that occupies one-half a city block, standing out as an important monumental public building. Although the site for the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse was purchased by 1916, national political and economic consideration prevented construction from being undertaken until 1934. The actual authorization for construction probably predates the Public Buildings Act of 1926, which makes this Federal Building unusual among those completed in the 1930’s. The style of the architecture is Starved Classicism, which was so typical of public buildings of this period that it has come to exemplify federal architecture. The Historic Structure Report evaluated the historical and architectural significance, and the physical condition, as a preliminary step to expanding the space of the District Court. There was a three-story crack in the limestone cladding indicating structural deterioration, the cause of which needed to be evaluated. There was also moisture damage to many of the limestone blocks. The building evaluation revealed that much of the damage was due to the expansion and contraction of the concrete structure. The limestone was installed without expansion joints, and when the movement of the structural frame caused the cladding to crack, moisture penetration further deteriorated the limestone. Because the Post Office had moved its operations to another facility, the court was to expand into a portion of the space vacated by the Post Office. Alternative entries were to be constructed, along with related security measures, and completing these alterations without compromising the historic integrity of the Federal Building was an important objective of the Historic Structure Report.