After nearly 40 years of continual use and stopgap modifications to address heightened security measures after the Oklahoma City bombing, by 2002 the timeworn Byron G. Rogers U. S. Courthouse was doomed to eternal renovations—or the wrecking ball. But the building had history worth preserving—high profile trials, including that of Timothy McVeigh, have taken place there. The U.S. General Services Administration selected Bennett Wagner & Grody Architects to oversee a $45.8 million redesign and modernization of the 247,000-square-foot courthouse. The architect chose to retain its site plan and exterior facades, which were original designed by Denver-based James Sudler Associates and Fisher and Davis in 1965.

Nearly all of the modifications occurred indoors, which were given a new “tuxedo” aesthetic scheme. Dark, cherry-stained maple detailing and black granite finishes contrast against white gypsum walls. Deep saturated colors along office corridors ease complex navigation, while clerestory windows above office doors create a subtle pattern of interest along hallways while drawing outside light into interior corridors. Indirect wall sconces, floating ceilings, and decorative artwork throughout the building mirror design details of the lobby’s original formalist architecture.

While the courthouse’s interior aesthetics received a facelift, the biggest transformation involved its overall energy performance and sustainability quotient. In fact, the Denver courthouse became the first Gold LEED-EB (existing building) certification in GSA's nation-wide inventory. To achieve this rating, the courthouse incorporates state-of-the-art HVAC systems and daylighting. Also, all building materials qualified as recycled and all wood products met requirements for sustainable forestry practices.



General Services Administration


Bennett Wagner & Grody Architects
1301 Wazee, Suite 100
Denver, Colorado 80204
303-623-7323 tel.
303-623-2836 fax

Principal-in-charge: Martha L. Bennett, AIA, LEED AP

Principal-in-charge construction technology: Don Grody, AIA

Principal-in-charge design: Linda Moore Wagner, AIA

Project manager: Mary Morissette, AIA

Project architect: Patrick Johnson,  AIA

Technical advisor: Mark McClelland, AIA

Job captain: Anne-Claude Pharamound

Architectural intern: Tadd Irwin

Interior designer: Gayle Carter


M/e: RMH Group

Structural/civil: Martin/Martin


Landscape: Lime Green Design

Lighting: RMH Group

Acoustical: Shen Milson & Wilke

Environmental: Walsh Environmental

Commissioning: E-Cube

Energy-efficient mechanical design: Ambient Energy

1% for Art Program:  Jim Campbell

General contractor

MCDS/PCL joint venture


Ron Pollard Photography



Structural system

Reinforced steel floor deck framing in selected areas

Exterior Cladding

Masonry:  Interior CMU and GMU

Metal/glass curtainwall:  Explosion-resistant Vistawall at new vestibule

Wood:  Doors, door frames, interior window frames, trim, wainscoting, judges’ benches, jury boxes, witness stands by Beaubois Millwork


Three-ply SBS modified bitumen and integral flashings and Energy Star certified membrane

Aluminum: Exterior windows by  EFCO Glazing; pre-cast surrounds by Wassau Tile

Glass: Explosion-resistant skylight glazing by A1Glass

Skylights: Explosion-resistant skylight glazing by A1Glass


Entrances: Level III ballistic pivot and revolving doors by Crane Doors

Wood doors: Interior wood doors by Beaubois

Fire-control doors, security grilles: Wood & HM fire doors

Drywall painting, interior metal door frames: Heggum Lundquist


Locksets: Medeco

Exit devices: Von Dupren

Cabinet hardware: Hafele

Interior finishes:
Acoustical ceilings and grid: Armstrong

Acoustical ceilings in courtrooms: Ceilings Plus

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Beaubois

Special surfacing: Dupont Corian

Floor and wall tile: Ceramic tile in all restroom walls and floors; terrazzo floors by Wausau

Resilient flooring: Cork in all courtroom spectator areas; VCT in utility/storage rooms by Armstrong VCT

Carpet: Shaw

Raised flooring: Access floors in all courtrooms


Interior ambient lighting: 2/4-lamp T8 pendant

Downlights: High efficiency fluorescent

Controls: Combination photocell/motion sensing switches all rooms; programmable controls in courtrooms


Elevators/escalators: KONE