Program: A 55,000-square-foot addition to Berkeley's law school, with a library spanning two subterranean levels and, above ground, a single-story pavilion housing a caf', a student lounge, and a classroom. The new structure sits in front of the horseshoe-shaped 1951 law complex and divides the campus' courtyard in two. The addition complements 49,000 square feet of renovations to the original building's four stories. New spaces include classrooms, faculty offices, and a moot court.
Design concept and solution: The school had outgrown its original building, lacked a social gathering space, and had to cope with disorganized additions made since 1951. Ratcliff set out to clarify the program and add an entry pavilion that would double as a social hub and a new gateway to the law complex. To streamline the existing facilities, the firm moved most of the library stacks to the basement of the addition, reserving the vacated floors for future growth. The remaining stacks, on the ground floor of the 1951 building, interfered with circulation. So the architects condensed the stacks in a smaller floor area to create a clear east-west corridor, bisected by a new path leading south to the addition. To contrast the addition from the concrete mass of the old building, Ratcliff conceived the new structure as a glass pavilion'an indoor extension of the courtyard'with a terra-cotta rain screen and terra-cotta baguettes to soften southern light. Blurring the boundary between inside and outside, sliding glass walls open the student lounge to the west courtyard, and exterior finishes carry over to the interior. Western red cedar warms up the overhangs outside and the ceilings inside, while terra-cotta panels extend from the south facade to the interior walls of the caf' and lounge. One level up, the pavilion's roof garden leads to a bridge to the existing building. Skylights on either side of the bridge filter daylight into the pavilion and down, via an illuminated glass staircase, to the lower levels of the library. Strips of glass paving in the east and west courtyards also serve as skylights.