December 18th | The Supreme Court Justice and the Architect

John Joseph Moakley Courthouse | Photo by Steve Rosenthal

A profound concern for architecture may not immediately come to mind as an interest of a United States Supreme Court justice, but it is certainly one of Justice Stephen Breyer’s. Given the courts’ fundamental role in our democracy, the design of spaces of justice is an indelible manifestation of societal values. Justice Breyer, as the lead client on the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston during his time on the US Court of Appeals, was accordingly invested in how the courthouse’s design would read to the public. So began his relationship with a pillar in another field and the lead architect on the project, Henry Cobb, founding principal of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The two launched a sustained dialogue about how to convey the role of judiciary in a democratic society, resulting in a building that won a Presidential Design Award in 2000. Justice Breyer has since continued on his architectural trajectory, joining the jury of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011.

Join The Architectural League and The Cooper Union for the unique opportunity to hear Justice Breyer and Henry Cobb in conversation this Friday morning. They will reflect on their collaboration and the civic importance and symbolic power of architecture for the judiciary.

Visit the League’s website for more information on Justice Breyer, Henry Cobb, and their upcoming conversation.

In Conversation: Justice Stephen Breyer and Henry N. Cobb
1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs
Organized and presented by The Architectural League and the Department of Continuing Education and Public Programs and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union

Time & Place
Friday, December 18, 2015
8:15 – 10:00 a.m (Lecture begins at 9:00 a.m.; a reception precedes.)
The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street

This event is free and open to all. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing

Urban Omnibus is a project of The Architectural League of New York and regularly cross-posts content and information from the League website we think would be of interest to UO readers.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.