Catholic University of America


Columbus School of Law

Washington, DC

188,000 GSF, 17,466 M2

Interior Architecture, Master Planning, Programming

“When I think of the project, the adjective I think of with respect to [SmithGroupJJR] is patience. Professionalism, creativity, detail, courtesy, humor also apply -- but I valued patience the most.”

—Leah Wortham, Assoc. Dean/Professor of Law


Merging master planning with architecture and interior design, SmithGroupJJR created an innovative path to building out this law school.

From its traditionalist design to its modern electronic communication arteries, the architecture reflects changing patterns of legal study and research. The exterior borrows selectively from the Collegiate Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles on campus to create a contemporary building that is contextual yet distinctive.

Inside, the building is organized around a dramatic central atrium, a place where it is easy for faculty and students can easily connect on their way to the library, student lounges, the café or the moot courtrooms. Flexibility and growth inform the amenities: The entire facility is fitted for state-of-the-art voice, data and audiovisual technologies, and the ample, state-of-the-art library accommodates up to 220,000 volumes and 500 patrons. To further enhance functionality, one of three flexible-use teaching courtrooms can be adapted for up to five appellate judges, a trial court, a legislative hearing room, or a city council dais.