Harvard University, Harvard Law School, Austin Hall

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Austin Hall, built in 1883 to H.H. Richardson’s design, was the first law school building in the nation, and it originally housed the entire school. Although renovations had been completed over the years, the university elected to perform a complete phased exterior and interior refurbishment. An overarching goal in all interior work was to accommodate contemporary uses ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$315.00FEATURED IN2003 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation teaching styles, and sensitively integrate new technologies, while reviving the use of materials and colors that characterized the original design.

Two 137-seat classrooms, a 100-seat room and the historic 293-seat Ames Courtroom were reconfigured and renovated. Telecommunications, audiovisual and distance-learning technologies were provided in all four classrooms. All other spaces, including the Morgan Courtroom, faculty and administrative offices, student workspace and seminar spaces, were remodeled. Mechanical and electrical systems were replaced, and egress and accessibility were upgraded by adding a fire stair and a wheelchair lift. More than 8,000 square feet of usable space was created in the attic and basement, and lighting and acoustics were improved in all areas.

The project was built over three consecutive summers to minimize disruption of the academic program. The building remained partially occupied during parts of two summers.