The new Berkeley Law Library addition is the centerpiece of a complete renewal of the school’s facilities that reinvigorates its profile as a premier law program. Situated at the southeast edge of the campus, the addition sits lightly and does its best to preserve scarce open space on a tight site by placing two of the building’s three floors FEATURED IN2012 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYLibraries/Media Centers grade, thereby not obscuring views of existing Boalt Hall and maintaining courtyards to the east and west of the addition.
Composed of a glass pavilion housing a multipurpose lecture hall, cafe and student lounge, and set above a two-level, underground library, the addition accommodates Berkeley Law’s growing research collection, establishes a new social and academic hub, and defines a new entry to the complex.
Programmatically and formally, the addition becomes more open, ephemeral and public as it rises from floor to floor—from the natural light-shielded bottom-most level filled with stacks, to the skylighted below-grade first level with library spaces, to the glass-walled top-level’s lobby and cafe.
By the time a visitor reaches its rooftop garden, the building has evaporated into a constructed landscape meant for outdoor study and recreation. A building can’t occupy a site much lighter than that.