Stanford Law School, William H. Neukom Building

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Stanford Law School, William H. Neukom Building

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.

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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.

Richard Olcott, Design Partner
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Larry Kramer, former Dean of Stanford Law
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Stanford, CA
65,000 GSF
Law Clinic, Conference Rooms, Seminar Rooms, Communal Work/Study Spaces, Faculty Offices, Faculty Garden, Faculty Lounge
LEED Silver Equivalent


Ennead Design Team
Richard Olcott, Don Weinreich, Kate Mann, Steven Peppas, Charmian Place, Stefan Abel, Bernardo Almonte, Sean Baumes, Katharine Huber, Kathleen Kulpa, Christina Long, Kenichiro Mito, Yasemen Omurtag, Yong Roh, Todd Van Varick
Associate Architect
Photography / Videography
Misha Bruk, Bruce Damonte, Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, Google Earth


  • 2013
    • IES Lighting Control Innovation Award of Merit, Illuminating Engineering Society
    • Silver Award of Merit, Society of American Registered Architects/New York Council
  • 2012
    • AIA Santa Clara Valley Design Awards, Award of Merit
    • The Chicago Athenaeum Award for American Architecture
    • The Illuminating Engineering Soiety of North America Illumination Award, Award of Merit
    • ACEC California’s Engineering Excellence Award, Honor Award
    • American Council of Engineering Award
    • Precast Concrete Institute Award, Higher Education Category
    • Precast Concrete Institute Award, Sustainable Design Award
  • 2011
    • Society of American Registered Architects, National Design Award


  • 2011
    • "Neukom Comes Full Circle" (World Architecture News, 6/17/2011)
    • Meinhold, Bridgette. "Stanford’s Neukom Building is a Stunning Low-Carbon Campus Centerpiece" (Inhabitat, 6/15/2011)
    • "Architecture People and Places" (Architecture Week, 6/8/2011)
    • Dudley, Brier. "A New Era: Attorney General Lauds Neukom at Stanford" (The Seattle Times, 5/20/2011)
    • Sloan, Karen. "Stanford law's New Building Intends to Encourage Interaction" (The National Law Journal, 5/18/2011)
    • "Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the Dedication of the William H. Neukom Building at Stanford Law School" (The United States Department of Justice, 5/20/2011)
    • "Attorney General Eric Holder helps dedicate a dazzling new building for the Stanford Law School" (Stanford University News, 5/23/2011)
    • "William H. Neukom Building at Stanford University" (, 5/25/2011)
    • "William H. Neukom Building, Stanford University" (Architype Review, 9/22/2011)
    • Cook, John. "New Stanford Law Building is amazing, and it comes courtesy of an ex-Microsoftie" (Geek Wire, 5/21/2011)