Higher Education

Harvard Law School

Lewis Law Center

Cambridge, Massachusetts
50,448 SF
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Harvard Law School Lewis Law Center 01
© Chris Cooper/ArchExplorer
Harvard Law School Lewis Law Center 02
© Chris Cooper/ArchExplorer

Adaptive reuse of existing building structure and enclosure resulting in considerable reduction in embodied carbon.

Founded in 1817, Harvard Law School is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. The Lewis Law Center is home to the international legal studies library and contains one third of the law library’s international law collection. It is the first major facility at Harvard named in honor of an African American.

The project added to and transformed the 1959 modernist building originally designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott. The building had not been substantially updated since its original construction. Primary purpose was to address significant deferred maintenance with a comprehensive building renovation including remediation, all life safety systems, MEP systems, envelope, accessibility upgrades. Full scope included new entrance, increased teaching and office space, flexible conference, meeting rooms, and gathering spaces to support collaborative work, new circulation system, and high-performance facade. The new space also houses the cutting-edge research center on law and cyberspace.

“The adaptive reuse of the existing building structure and enclosure results in a 40% reduction in embodied carbon emissions compared to a new construction building using standard industry materials. Overall, the adaptive reuse of the building saved about one million tons of embodied carbon, which is the equivalent to the annual energy use of 120,000 homes.”


The project is targeting LEED Gold certification.