the Colaborative Inc

U.S. Post Office & Courthouse - Puerto Rico

Client: Lebrun & Associates

Site: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

The U.S. Post Office and Courthouse was designed by the Office of the Supervising Architect of the Department of the Treasury. The original Spanish Revival style building was constructed in 1914, and a major addition in the Federal style of the 1920s and 1930s was completed in 1940. The resulting building is a curious combination of contemporary and classic. Its location adjacent to the waterfront and the height of the six-story 1940 tower has made the building a landmark in Old San Juan. A key aspect of the design of the 1914 building was its provision for natural cooling-large covered loggias, stone floors, and open grills at the top of each interior partition, all working together to induce breezes and convection cooling. The Historic Structure Report evaluated the historic and architectural significance and the physical condition of the building in order to recommend appropriate locations and methods for any alterations to the exterior or interior spaces. Proposed changes to this building included upgrading fire and life safety, security for federal prisoners of the court, mechanical and electrical systems, and enhanced accessibility for the disabled. The project involved substantial renovation of courts and support spaces. The Historic Structure Report described the levels of sensitivity required for this major change. Laboratory analysis of historic mortar and paint, and cleaning of the building was included in the technical evaluation of the structure.