University of California, Hastings


College of Law, Law Library

San Francisco, California

80,000 GSF, 7,432 M2

Architecture, Interior Architecture, Programming

Interior Design Awar -- Academic Libraries over 30,000 sf

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“The collaborative team was a major component towards the success of the project. We would like to express our collective appreciation for the creative, functional and stunning design of the new facility.”

—David Seward, Chief Financial Officer, Hastings College of Law


For the oldest law school in California, UC Hastings College of the Law, tradition must be balanced with current trends in law education. Modernizing the campus with respect for historic roots proved vital to that balance. The renovation of the Law Library is exemplary of the 10-year partnership between SmithgroupJJR and the college, aiming to deliver amenities attractive to today's students while respecting the institutional heritage.

With squat ceilings, limited daylight and muddled wayfinding, the existing library lacked energy, imagination and interaction. The renovation opens up the space to support visual connection, producing vitality and improving operations, while promoting a sense of community and pride. Using color to stimulate collaboration and organize spatial relationships, the design team also programmed flexible spaces to accommodate any size gathering.

Beyond reinventing the Law Library, this project simultaneously executed a full seismic retrofit. As a result, the students, faculty and staff enjoy a new social hub: an accessible, comfortable and safe learning environment, woven into the urban fabric of the campus and community.