Reflecting an institutional shift that emphasizes interdisciplinary study and collaboration, the design fulfills the space needs of a growing faculty, fosters interchange among faculty and students and strengthens the visual identity and coherence of the Law School campus.
The most important space in the building isn’t in the building at all: it’s the garden courtyard, a space for study, gathering, contemplation or relaxation, a common space in the tradition of the memorable historic quads of Stanford. It is literally the heart of the design, a space that is distinctly Stanford.
A monumental rotunda at the intersection of two significant circulation paths is the principal entry point to the new academic building and defines a shaded garden terrace. Elevated above the ground floor, the terrace is the heart of the new building.
The composition of materials and plantings define “conversation rooms,” sculptural fountains reinforce the terrace’s contemplative ambience, and a suspended, vine-covered, wood and steel trellis with a central oculus knits together the four wings of the building and creates a dynamic interplay of shade and shadow.
In the faculty wings, intimate suites establish a welcoming atmosphere for faculty, students and visiting scholars. Interconnected communal spaces promote informal interaction. Double-height meeting spaces at the corners of the building link interior spaces vertically, further unifying the academic community.
Over the course of the first year, students and faculty began to discover and use the new spaces. By year’s end – light speed if you think about the usual pace of cultural change – everything was different. What used to feel dead and monkish now feels vibrant and alive. It is precisely what we hoped the new architecture would do.