The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Dickinson Law, Lewis Katz Hall

0521 Dickinson Hero

The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Dickinson Law, Lewis Katz Hall

Linking two existing structures, Lewis Katz Hall creates an identifiable center of student activity for the School of Law’s original campus. In unifying disparate existing elements of the campus, a public commons reflects the School’s programmatic and pedagogical intentions.

0521 Dickinson Aerial

The architecture of the building springs from the idea that studying the law is not a solitary endeavor: study and practice depend on dialogue, discussion and debate, which, in turn, describe human interaction.

Richard Olcott, Design Partner
0521 Dickinson Approach

The architecture responds directly to the School’s desire to create a new identifiable campus center for student activity that maximizes natural light, air and accessibility to outdoor space. The renovation and expansion is a conceptual urban infill: its identity created not by a solid but by a void, a public common space that pulls together disparate elements of the campus; its focus is inward.

0521 Dickinson Courtyard

The design takes inspiration from two characteristics of its neighborhood: the scale of the surrounding residential homes and the canopy of trees that covers the entire area. The individual volumes of the addition’s classrooms recall the scale of the surrounding homes, while a prominent, landscaped green roof echoes the tree canopy and integrates the building with the surrounding landscape.

0521 Dickinson Final Model
0521 Dickinson Courtyard2

Perforated by skylights and a courtyard, open to the surrounding landscape and the sky above, capturing views of the School’s historic Trickett Hall and the Moot Courtroom, Lewis Katz Hall creates a sense of openness and accessibility, a feeling of connectivity to the School’s historic past and a projection of its progressive future.

0521 Dickinson Interior
0521 Dickinson Axon
0521 Dickinson Library
0521 Dickinson Auditorium


Carlisle, PA
82,000 GSF
Library, Four 75-seat Classrooms, Three 30-seat Seminar Rooms, One 250-seat Auditorium/Lecture Room, One 50-seat Moot Courtroom, Faculty Offices, A/V Capabilities for Distance Learning
LEED Silver


Design Partner
Richard Olcott
Management Partner
Timothy Hartung
Project Designers
Andrew Burdick, Kate Mann
Project Manager
Kevin McClurkan
Project Architects
Felicia Berger, M. Gregory Clawson, Chris Andreacola
Charmian Place
Design Team
Sean Baumes, Christopher Lewis, Darla Elsbernd, Maxime Laurent, Steven Chang, Kate Mann, Brian Masuda, Marcela Villarroel-Trinidade, Ted Wagner
Associate Architect
Office for Planning and Architecture Inc.


  • 2010
    • AIA Central Pennsylvania Honor Award for Architecture


  • 2010
    • Cress, Joseph . "Dickinson School of Law Dedicates Renovated Building" (The Sentinel, 4/17/2010)
  • 2009
    • "Lewis Katz Building, Dickinson School of Law by Polshek Partnership Architects" (, 5/29/2009)
    • "Lewis Katz Building Wins 'Project of the Year' Award" (Penn State Law, 12/4/2009)


WSP Flack + Kurtz, Inc.
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Hargreaves Associates
Brandston Partnership, Inc.
Poulin + Morris, Inc.
Shen Milsom & Wilke
Heintges & Associates
Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC
Walker Parking Consultants
Iros Elevator Design Services, Inc.
Robert Schwartz & Associates
Code/Life Safety
Hughes Associates, Inc.
Cost Estimating
Stuart-Lynn Company, Inc.
General Contractor
Gilbane Building Company
Andrew Burdick/Ennead Architects, Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects