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April 2010

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Building Type: Government, Transportation and Sports

Fairfax County Courthouse uses Wausau’s blast-mitigating SuperWall system for historic expansion

Wausau Window and Wall Systems engineered a high-performance, blast-resistant curtainwall system for the $105.7-million, expansion and renovation to Fairfax County's Jennings Judicial Center in Virginia. One of the largest projects in the county's history, the 316,000-square-foot addition doubled the size of the existing building. The new facility consolidates the county's justice system under one roof and combines operations from the neighboring, historic Fairfax County Courthouse.

photo by Trevor Olson The design-build team of HDR Architecture, Inc., with the Pittsburgh-based general contractor team from dck north america LLC, and Trainor Glass of South Kearny, N.J., began construction on Jennings Judicial Center in July 2004. Wausau provided a blast-mitigating curtainwall system that adheres to heightened security mandates and preserves this aesthetic integrity of the historical district.

"Coordination between manufacturer, glazing contractors and consultants and designers was crucial to ensure proper anchorage and installation," Wausau's regional sales manager, Kevin Robbins, explains. "We rely on a collaborative approach -- especially with projects like these -- to make it possible to complete construction, while maintaining the day-to-day operations of the facility."

In its quality-controlled, Wisconsin-based manufacturing facility, Wausau fabricated a SuperWall™ system that includes framing depths exceeding 10-inches. "Fairfax County Courthouse's system was comprised mostly of punched windows, surrounded by the building's façade on all four sides," says Robbins. With sensitivity to the blast-mitigation features, Wausau used computer modeling to cost-effectively verify performance of the windows, while minimizing the opportunity for delay or mishap during fabrication and installation.

The new façade preserves the historical feel of the 204-year old Fairfax County Courthouse by matching the brick façade of the 25-year-old Jennings Building. Linetec finished Wausau's aluminum framing system in a custom color, two-coat, 70% Kynar 500® resin based coating. This finish meets the industry's highest performance criteria for weather-resistance and durability.

Beyond selecting the appropriate finish color and curtainwall configuration, the courthouse's design is respectfully scaled to its surroundings. The building's elevation along the street includes a three-story addition proportioned to with the neighboring, low-lying buildings, and an additional two levels set back on the site to meet with the five-story Jennings building. A serpentine wall prevents open access to the front lawn, while an exterior courtyard between the existing building and the addition allows the public to have outdoor access.
Fairfax County CourthouseOpen and occupied in summer 2009, the Fairfax County Courthouse encompasses 546,000-square-feet housing 14 new courtrooms, bringing the total number of courtrooms to 37, plus potential to expand to 42. It will house the Circuit, General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, allowing judges to share resources and discussions. Additionally, it includes a parking garage for 1,900 vehicles constructed away from the facility for added security.


Fairfax County’s Jennings Judicial Center, Virginia

* Owner: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
* Architect/engineer: HDR Architecture, Inc.
* General contractor: dck north america LLC
* Glazing contractor: Trainor Glass; South Kearny, N.J.
* Glazing systems – manufacturer:  Wausau Window and Wall Systems; Wausau, Wis.
* Glazing systems – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wis.
* Photos by: Trevor Olson, courtesy of Fairfax County, Virginia