BU’s School of Law was designed by renowned modernist Josep Lluis Sert in the early 1960s and is his largest complex of buildings for learning in the world. Based on a master plan by Bruner/Cott & Associates (Cambridge, MA), BU developed a program to restore the structure of its Tower and restore/rehabilitate it for adaptive reuse along with the construction of an addition, the Sumner M. Redstone Building.
Completed in 2014, the goals for the academic program of the Redstone Building (Phase I of the project) were to improve the classroom experience, increase the amount of student support space, and rehabilitate and provide direct access to the adjacent Pappas Law Library.
The Redstone Building’s entry faces an open forecourt connected to the major east-west pedestrian path south of the Law School. It opens into an inviting two-story glass enclosure or “winter garden,” with large open public stairs leading to the classroom levels above.
An iconic structure since its 1964 opening, the Tower’s narrow profile and heavily articulated exterior are suited to its location along the edge of the Charles River. However, these same attributes created utilitarian challenges for students, with long waits at it elevators to reach classrooms above. Its interior spaces were converted to faculty offices, conference areas, and mock courtrooms during the project.
Bruner/Cott’s goal for the master plan was to intervene in the Sert complex to remedy shortcomings and missed opportunities in the original design without debasing its visual quality. The firm’s work on Phase II of the project, the restoration/rehabilitation of the Tower and work on the Pappas Law Library, was completed in 2015.