Lewis Law Center — a center for cutting-edge research at Harvard

Cambridge, MA
Targeting LEED Gold
50,448 square feet
Type: Academic / Adaptive Reuse
Theme: Transforming Old Buildings

Project EUI

reduction in energy use compared to the AIA 2030 baseline

The project transformed a 1957 modernist building, originally designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott as a library-stacks building, with a new entrance, increased teaching and office space, a new circulation system, and high-performance glazing. Zinc and glass additions complement the original limestone, metal, and glass building and create a tuned coherence between old and new. A new floor and roof terrace were added to the top of the building, and formerly opaque walls were opened up to bring natural light into the core of the building.

Inside, several sections of floor were removed to create interlocking spaces that foster collaboration, learning, and co-working. Flexible conference and meeting rooms and collaborative areas encourage interdisciplinary work. At the same time, discreet areas are separated for focused work, including study carrels, private offices, and client consultation rooms. The project also houses a cutting-edge laboratory on law and cyberspace for the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

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.

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Early on, we uncovered a tension between needs for privacy and a widespread desire for light and views. Students’ “bullpen-style” workspaces are clustered at new windows and around new openings between floors to distribute light and views of the exterior. This arrangement has also made for more “water-cooler” moments.

Ameet Hiremath, Senior Principal

Key People

Ameet Hiremath
Project Lead

Caroline Wharton Ewing
Interior Design Lead

Deborah Berke
Collaborating Partner

Brendan M. Lee
Project Manager

Elizabeth Chadkin
Project Manager - Interior Design


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


Citation Award in Adaptive Reuse
AIA New York State 2023 Design Awards

The Architect's Newspaper
May 2023

March 2023

March 2023

Design Awards of Excellence
SARA National Design Awards, 2023

Best of Design in Adaptive Reuse
The Architect's Newspaper, 2023 Best of Design Awards

Context & Drawings