William H. Neukom Building, Stanford University Building, Palo Alto Architecture, USA

William H. Neukom Building at Stanford University

Stanford University Law School, California, design by Ennead Architects, USA

May 25, 2011

William H. Neukom Building Stanford University, CA



U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. gives inaugural address at Stanford University Law School building dedication

Design: Ennead Architects

William H. Neukom Building - Stanford University Palo Alto

Stanford, CA, May 25, 2011 – May 20th marked the dedication of the William H. Neukom Building at Stanford University, with hundreds gathered on the Law School campus for an inaugural address by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Designed by Richard Olcott of Ennead Architects, the building fulfills the space needs of a growing faculty, fosters the collaboration essential to a rich educational experience and strengthens the Law School’s visual identity. Partners Olcott and Don Weinreich led the design team.

William H. Neukom Building Stanford William H. Neukom Building Stanford University Stanford University Law School

Photos © Aislinn Weidele

Prominently sited directly south of the existing Law School complex, the 65,000 square-foot building creates a new focal point along the principal circulation route linking the residential and academic precincts of the campus. Bold axial connections to adjacent plazas, walkways, malls and building entries further define the school’s open spaces.

Reinforcing the principles of Olmsted’s original master plan for the campus, the building is organized around a central courtyard: four three-story wings, connected by glass-walled bridges, pinwheel around the elevated Faculty Garden. A ground-floor plinth forms the base of the building and houses the Law Clinic. A monumental rotunda references the historic entry gates on the main quad, marks the convergence of the two principal campus grids, and establishes the Neukom Building as the central hub of the Law School.

The rotunda’s open-air staircase leads to the Faculty Garden and upper levels, which house faculty offices, the Dean’s Suite and open and closed meeting and lounge areas. The Faculty Garden is intended primarily as the Law School’s “living room,” a serene and engaging space designed to accommodate social events as well as intimate conversations, individual study and serendipitous encounters.

It expands the Law School’s sequence of outdoor spaces, which includes the reinvigorated Crocker Garden and Canfield Court. The garden facades of each of the four wings are articulated by subtly textured planar limestone walls, which extend from the garden to the outer edges of the complex, thereby reinforcing the pinwheel plan and drawing people into the space.

Stanford University Stanford University Building Stanford University Law School Building Stanford University Law School
photos © Aislinn Weidele

In the faculty wings, intimate suites promote open door scholarship. “Our aim was to establish a welcoming atmosphere for faculty and students with interconnected, communal spaces offering a variety of possibilities for informal interaction,” says Olcott. “The distinction between the exterior and the interior has been blurred to unify the academic community.”

The double-height meeting spaces at the corners of the building are oriented outward to the campus to achieve vertical interpenetration of interior spaces; coupled with the connecting bridges, they offer views to the campus and the garden.

“Measures to reduce the building’s carbon footprint, maximize energy efficiency, reduce water consumption and create a healthy working environment through the use of natural ventilation and abundant daylight reinforce the University’s sustainability initiatives”, says Weinreich. The predicted overall building energy consumption is one third that of an average commercial building in California with similar use.

Stanford University Stanford University Building Stanford University Law School Building
photos © Aislinn Weidele

Ennead Architects

Location: Stanford University, San Francisco, North California, USA

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