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U.S. Supreme Court Building Modernization Project

1933 photo of Vermont Marble Co. craftsman measuring Corinthian column for the Supreme Court Building.
1934 photo of the Supreme Court Building taken during construction before pediment and roof are completed.
1935 photo of the Supreme Court Building taken when plaza area was under construction.
1990 photo taken from behind the Vermont marble pillars at the front of the Supreme Court Building.
Project Description

In July 2003, the Supreme Court began a modernization project to update and replace building systems that have not been upgraded since the building opened in 1935. The first phase of the project was the construction of an underground annex on the Maryland Avenue side of the building to provide necessary space for functions and personnel displaced by the expansion of rooms containing new mechanical equipment. Phase I was completed in 2005 and Phase II work began inside the Court building itself. In order for all Court operations to continue uninterrupted, only one-fourth of the building was under construction at any one time. Modernization of the northwest quadrant of the building was completed in June 2007, the northeast quadrant was completed in the summer of 2008, work in the southeast quadrant of the building was completed in the summer of 2009, and work in the southwest quadrant was completed in the summer of 2010. With the exception of some lingering tasks and administrative close-out activities, the Modernization Project was completed in January 2011. The total estimated cost of the project, which remained within budget, was $122 million and included the phases from study through design and construction.

The restoration of the landscape, which was not within the scope of the Modernization Project, is nearly completed. Over the summer of 2013, trees and sidewalks on Second Street were replaced. The South Lawn restoration and new South walkway were completed in November, and the East Capitol Street door became open as a public exit during regular business hours. The renovation of the North lawn is ongoing and scheduled to be completed by the end of summer 2014.


If you have any questions about the Supreme Court Modernization Project, please contact the Public Information Office at (202) 479-3211.

November 29, 2014 | Version 2014.1