The Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community’s (SRPMIC) new Justice Center, designed by Gould Evans, was recently selected as a 2018 Architizer A+Awards winner in the Government & Municipal Buildings category. The Justice Center, a tribal court and practitioners’ building located in the Sonoran Desert, was designed to uphold the tribe’s unique sense of identity, beauty and humility. The design solidifies a balance of tribal sovereignty alongside pressures of modernization within the region of the nation’s fifth largest metropolis, Phoenix. 

“We’re honored to be recognized by the Architizer A+Awards for our work on SRPMIC,” said Krista Shepherd, Principal of Gould Evans’ Phoenix Studio. “ Our national design practice focuses on people and place specificity.  We were  delighted to engage the Community in the challenges of imagining the evolving meanings and forms of tribal Justice. After all, we joined a partnership with the Community to build a framework for which Tribal Justice is meant to consider.” 

The new 93,000 SF facility addresses both the demands of a contemporary justice system, as well as creates a sense of tribal modernity, sovereignty and historical familiarity. Working across a cultural border created the need to establish cross-cultural relationships, devise a system of communication, and attempt an empathetic work aimed at deeper cultural understanding about history, place and justice in an evolving tribal community.

The Justice Center’s interior spaces are orchestrated around exterior space and the building is conceived as a backdrop to a variety of outdoor rooms. Much of the landscape, which create ties to native lands, is untouched and left to forces of the desert. 

The primary building materials–glass, weathered steel and concrete–reflect the desert vernacular. The craft of the concrete and a custom rebar scrim demonstrate the community’s deep care for the handmade and provide a glimpse into distinctive tribal sensibilities toward artistry, significance of place and community.

The Architizer A+Awards is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products. Its mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life.

The 2018 winning projects were selected by a distinguished jury, including:

  • Piera Gelardi, Creative Director and Founding Partner, Refinery 29
  • Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder, Airbnb
  • Robin Chase, Co-Founder, Zipcar
  • Guy Raz, Journalist and Radio Host
  • Annabelle Selldorf, Principal, Selldorf Architects
  • Yves Behar, Founder, Fuseproject
  • Jeanne Gang, Founding Principal, Studio Gang Architects
  • Mónica Ponce de León, Dean, Princeton University School of Architecture
  • Jane Chu, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Olafur Eliasson, Artist
  • Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Academy Award Winning Documentarian
  • John Varvatos, Founder, John Varvatos

The full list of 2018 winning projects can be viewed here: