We are currently redesigning the Lewis International Law Center at the Harvard Law School to create a 21st century learning and work environment. The space will be inhabited by students, faculty, and staff, as well as research affiliates and law clinic clients.

The original modernist building, designed in 1959 by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, & Abbott, is modernized with a new entrance, increased teaching and office space, a new circulation system, and a high-performance facade. Metal and glass additions complement the original limestone, metal, and glass palette, creating a subtle dialog between old and new. An additional floor is built on top of the building and formerly opaque walls are opened up with glass to bring natural light into the core of the building.

Inside, library stacks have been removed to create interlocking spaces that foster collaboration, learning, and co-working. Flexible conference areas, meeting rooms and collaborative spaces encourage interdisciplinary work. At the same time, discreet areas are set aside for focused work, creating study carrels, private offices, and client consultation rooms. The project also houses a cutting-edge research center on law and cyberspace for the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
Key People
Ameet Hiremath
Project Lead
Brendan M. Lee
Project Manager
Elizabeth Chadkin
Project Manager - Interior Design

Deborah Berke Partners

Architect, Interior Designer

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Structural Engineer, Envelope Consultant

Altieri Sebor Wieber

MEP/FP Engineer

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Landscape Architect

Nitsch Engineering

Civil Engineer

Haley & Aldrich

Geotechnical Consultant

Atelier Ten

Sustainability Consultant

One Lux

Lighting Designer


Information Technology, Audio Visual and Security Consultant

R.W. Sullivan

Code Consultant


Signage Designer

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Ground floor plan.
Floor plan.
Floor plan.
Floor plan.
Floor plan.

Adapting to a Transformed Context

The new design will reconnect the building to its current context, which has changed substantially since the original building’s construction in 1959. We have imagined inviting and defined entries, creating a stronger circulatory connection to the campus. Our approach will also make the activities within Lewis more legible on the exterior, enhancing the building’s sense of presence.

Flexible and Responsive

Our redesign creates organized “neighborhoods”: departments and programs will be grouped together to encourage collaboration, while respecting the need for privacy and individual workspace. As part of our process, we studied program and adjacency diagrams to inform how new floor plans can best provide meaningful and productive shared social and circulation spaces.

Creating Connections

Natural light and wide views instill an open character throughout the interior. The design of a new building core not only makes the building more accessible, but also creates a common, consistent identity. The everyday spaces of the building are filled with light, drawing in activity to form the heart of the building.