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Mid-century concrete structures are generally not considered to be the most flexible buildings on the planet. We don’t let that stand in our way.
Robert Crown Law Library, Classrooms, Moot Court
Stanford University, CA
2007

Challenge

How does one transform a dated 1970’s concrete structure into a state-of-the-art research, instructional and clinic facility? How does one squeeze new program areas into an existing facility without actually adding new square footage? How does one improve day-lighting, and find opportunities to enhance student and faculty interaction?

Approach

MKThink has been Stanford Law School’s lead programming, strategic, and design consultant since 2000. The 60,000 sf Crown Quad Modernization dramatically transformed the school’s existing, outdated facilities, aligning them with its world-class reputation. Renovations, fast-tracked and completed during 10-week summer breaks, include classrooms, legal clinics, a moot court room, and the multistory law library. MKThink also led the strategic assessment and concept validation for the new 60,000 sf faculty and clinics building and partnered with Ennead Architects to finalize the design. Solution The answers lie in identifying space that is not performing optimally or is underutilized. One key to the solution is addressing how university libraries have evolved in the past 40 years. The Stanford Law Library, prior to our involvement, was a collection of dated spaces with an emphasis on the storage of book volumes. With so much of the collection available now through digital archives the opportunity to move books to less desirable space permitted introducing new space for research, group and independent study which the School desperately lacked. The resulting improvements were designed to place an emphasis on maximizing the day lighting available. The library and other key spaces have been opened up so that they are more visible to users and the spaces themselves are flooded with natural light wherever possible.

Results

More student use; enhanced accessibility; greater ability for staff to work well within a smaller footprint because of organized common areas and efficient furniture solutions.