Wasserstein Hall
Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing
Cambridge, MA

The Wasserstein Hall, Caspersen Student Center, Clinical Wing project will transform student life and learning at Harvard Law School. Comprising approximately 250,000 square feet on the corner of Everett Street and Massachusetts Avenue, this new complex will dramatically improve the teaching environment, provide new spaces for student activities, and significantly strengthen the learning community. It will also enhance the surrounding neighborhood by providing an attractive northern gateway to the Law School and to the Harvard University community.

The new complex will house three centers:

  • Wasserstein Hall , bordering Massachusetts Avenue, this academic center will feature a range of classrooms and other learning spaces designed for 21st century legal education.
     
  • The Caspersen Student Center, adjacent to Harkness Commons, will be a central gathering place for students and will serve as a home for student organizations, journals, and social activities.
     
  • The Clinical Wing , on the Everett Street side of the site, will house the School's expanding clinical programs — the educational ground where theory and practice meet.

 

This project was originally designed to be entirely in natural stone for the façade. BPDL recommended incorporating the stone directly to precast concrete while matching match the precast to the limestone for the window jambs and fins. This idea was accepted unanimously, resulting in economies of both money and time.

The biggest constraint to this project was the big arches at the 2 main entrances. The 11 arches weighing in at around 50 000 pounds each and measuring over 30 feet long had to be installed prior to the structural steel. The other challenge was to eliminate all straight joint on the building by using “zipper stone” (handset pieces). Over 400 stones were installed by hand after the precast panels were erected.

The erection process required finesse in order to ensure that the limestone facade would not be damaged. The 800 panels were installed at an average rate of 12 per day.

Owner:
Harvard Law School
Architect:
Project Description:
551,687 ft2; 6 storey higher education building
Engineer:
Contractor:
Precast Supplier:
BPDL Bétons Préfabriqués du Lac Inc.
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