The Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix is an architectural marvel, in that every summer, anyone who enters the building marvels at just how hot it's capable of getting -- even with the air-conditioning at full blast.
Now people are marveling at another aspect of the building: What clown brigade in its right mind would give this oven an award for "The Office Building of the Year [TOBY]"
Believe it or not, there is one.
In June, the International Building Owners and Managers Association gave the O'Connor courthouse this prestigious honor in the Government Building category of their annual contest.
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In a press release from the United States General Services office, the government agency that oversees the building and refers to itself as the "landlord of the federal government," says it is honored to be recognized and that the "Obama Administration and GSA are committed to making federal buildings more energy efficient and increasing the use of clean and renewable sources of energy," a lofty goal they should be able to achieve considering they do nothing to keep the building at a reasonable temperature.
In the summer, the building's vast uncoolable atrium reaches temperatures of nearly 100 degrees. During monsoons, its ceiling is open to dust storms. So how did a nearly uninhabitable structure get such acclaim? Because it's big, ultra-modern, and it features an "evaporative" cooling system, which makes it everyones favorite buzz word; "Green."
"It can get over 105 degrees inside the building over the summer, making it hell on the guards and secretaries trying to work inside, making a tough job miserable," says blogger Walt Lockley. "The giant glass shell of the O'Connor frames the most heavily defended, secured and user-hostile "public space" I've ever wanted to bolt from."
Maybe something is being overlooked. Perhaps the International Building Owners and Managers Association was awarding the building for what it's also doing; something most people would probably award as well: Cooking lawyers alive.