Orange County Courthouse

Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997.

Orange County Courthouse


The courthouse was one of a number of civic structures planned for Orange County, including a library and city hall in addition to the completed two-storey police headquarters. For this project Neutra’s “client interrogations” reached a new level. He interviewed bailiffs and judges, clerks and guards, district attorneys and public defenders, generating a wealth of planning information to ascertain the simultaneous needs of a freely moving public as well as those of prisoners under guard. The result is a handsomely detailed building, if somewhat formulaically handled. The narrow twelve-storey tower is oriented north-south, with a massive order of fixed vertical louvers for “skyglare” on the north and broader movable louvers on the south rising up behind a “base” of a secondary two-storey court building, this fronted by larger louvers. The staircase on the east is treated like a “server” element à la Louis Kahn, articulated in white and slightly pulled away from the building.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Richard and Dion Neutra with Ramberg and Lowrey


Orange County


Civic Center Plaza, 6th and Main Streets
Santa Ana, CA

Current Status