To remain competitive in the drive to attract the brightest students and the best faculty, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law knew it needed to expand its facilities. Inserted into the school's existing courtyard, the new addition houses a café, library stack space, reading and seminar rooms, computer labs, library staff offices, and collection services on four floors. Large skylights and open stairways bring abundant daylight into the addition's two subterranean levels, while the roof garden provides outdoor seating with a connection to the library's main reading room and a footbridge to the Steinhart Courtyard. The architects, Ratcliff, charged Auerbach Glasow French with designing a lighting scheme that would use low-maintenance sources in an unobtrusive way to create a comfortable environment for students.
Throughout the project, the designers combined LED accents with fluorescent fixtures to provide general illumination and highlight certain architectural elements. For example, in the lower-level reading rooms, CFL pendants and recessed T8s create an inviting study environment, while LED strips graze a terra-cotta feature wall. In a central glass-enclosed staircase, which is lit with LED handrails and frosted glass, light wells are backlit with dimmable fluorescent fixtures. Photosensors and programmed presets enable the LEDs to change color and intensity as the day progresses, drawing all eyes to this feature.
Jury Comments: A beautiful job that shows a deft understanding of light and is well orchestrated throughout. • Nice to see LEDs used architecturally.