Award of Merit Winner, Higher Education/Research

Courtesy of Ratcliff
UC Berkeley School of Law South Addition, Award of Merit, Higher Education/Research

The $70-million University of California, Berkeley law school project, completed in September 2011, included a 55,000-sq-ft library, with one level above grade and two below, and three phases of renovations to existing structures.

At grade, the new library has a centerpiece pavilion, framed by a terraced wall, sunlit courtyards and a rooftop garden, and contains a multipurpose classroom flanked by a café and student lounge.

Below grade, the library features two levels of reading and seminar rooms, offices, compact shelving, computer desks and a reference desk. Despite their subterranean location, those levels are daylighted through skylights up to the plaza; at night these floors become beacons.

The 49,000 sq ft of renovations included a new moot court room, conference rooms, meeting areas for student groups, offices and upgraded classrooms. A large glass volume connects the new structure with the old.

The project achieved LEED Gold for new construction and LEED Silver for commercial interiors. Its sustainable features include a water reclamation system for irrigation; drought-tolerant landscaping; sustainably harvested wood; and energy-efficient heating and cooling. The existing U-shaped building had to be underpinned and the courtyard excavated two floors down—all while teaching and seminars were going on above.

UC Berkeley School of Law South Addition


Key Players

Owner: University of California, Berkeley

Contractor: Hunt Construction, San Francisco

Lead Design: Ratcliff, Emeryville

Submitted by Ratcliff