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Redwood City - Courthouse Square

Client: City of Redwood City

The central public place and primary catalyst project in the larger downtown revitalization plan. Positioned between the restored 1910 San Mateo County Courthouse and historic Fox Theatre, featuring two semi-enclosed cafe pavilions flanking a decoratively paved plaza space that frames views between the two historic structures.

Courthouse Square hosts a wide variety of events every week and is warmly regarded as the community’s living room.


Prior to demolition, a vacant annex building occupied the front of the historic courthouse at Broadway and Middlefield Road.

  • A surplused 1939 Annex building of the historic San Mateo County Courthouse covered the prominent site.
  • There was no central gathering space in the historic downtown.
  • The steps and colonnaded grand entrance of Downtown's jewel, its domed courthouse, had been destroyed by the construction of the Annex building.


  • Design a vibrant public space on the reclaimed ½-acre space in front of the historic courthouse.
  • Provide flexibility in hosting a variety of open space uses including markets and performances.
  • Introduce activity-generating uses within the space to insure everyday vitality.
  • Sensitively complement the to-be-restored historic Courthouse portico and the Art Deco-influenced Fox Theatre façade.



  • Design developed through 3 workshops, 2 study sessions and various meetings through 2003-2004.
  • Design approved by the City Council in 2004.
  • Construction was completed in February 2007.
  • Courthouse Square today serves as an activity anchor and central gathering space for downtown's revitalized entertainment core, framed by the historic County Courthouse and the Fox Theatre.
  • Numerous well-attended programmed events including concerts, movies, dancing and community events as well as daily meeting and relaxing take place at the square.
  • Recognized with a 2007 Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism under the category Block, Street, and Building Scale; a 2008 Award of Excellence - Public Spaces & Linkages from the California Redevelopment Association; and a 2008 Project of the Year Award from the APWA South Bay Chapter.

In collaboration with:

FMG Architects, SFE Design, Carlile Macy, Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, Peter Kogan Associates, OLMM Consulting Engineers