Skanska performed construction and renovation services on Boston University’s School of Law. We constructed a new, six-story, 90,000-SF addition; restoring the existing tower’s exterior and then fully renovated the existing, 17-story iconic tower. Since its opening in 1964, the School of Law Building, designed by Jose Lluis Sert, has become an icon of Boston University. While its narrow profile and heavily articulated exterior are suited to its location along the edge of the Charles River, these same attributes have provided challenges to the University. As is the case with most of the buildings of the era, the exposed, cast-in-place concrete façade along with the exposed aggregate precast panels have not weathered well. Rainwater has been absorbed by the concrete and rusting reinforcing steel causes the façade to deteriorate. Steel frame windows and accent panels are also failing. Further, the construction does not meet today’s standards for energy performance and efficiencies.
Recognizing the building’s importance to the campus, the University developed a program to restore the structure of the Tower and continue its use as the School of Law. By developing an addition (West Addition) at the base to support the large traffic needs of classrooms, lounge and study areas, the upper floors were able to be converted to offices for faculty and student services. The tower’s concrete and precast exterior was repaired with acceptable ‘restoration’ methods. The window and metal panels were replaced with those of similar design, but allowing for contemporary energy code compliance. The goals for the academic program of the project were to improve the classroom experience; increase the amount of student support space (i.e. lounge, lockers, journals, etc.); expand the existing library. Phase 1 included the new construction of a 90,000-SF West Addition to the current Law School Facility (“Tower”). The West Addition supplements the existing Law School case-room and other instructional space inventory, along with an increase in student support space. Phase 2 included a full restoration of the existing 180,000-SF Tower and included the exterior building envelope, replacement of all the infrastructure, including life safety systems, elevators and interiors. Exterior restoration and interior life safety upgrades to the adjacent Papas Law Library were also included in the project scope.
The project received a 2015 Preservation Award from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.