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Lewis Katz Building wins accolades for design


Lewis Katz Building wins accolades for design

Penn State Law's Lewis Katz Building, designed by Ennead Architects of New York (formerly Polshek Partnership), has received honors from the Society of American Registered Architects New York Council (SARA NY), the Society of American Registered Architects Pennsylvania Council (SARA PA) and the highest, Platinum rating from the College Designer Collabetition Awards for design excellence.

"It's very rewarding when a project gets recognized for the design," said Richard Olcott of Ennead and lead design architect of the building. "We are thrilled with the news."

Completed in December 2008, the 114,000 square-foot Lewis Katz Building was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements. The building features a glass enclosed law library with a reading room that overlooks Park Avenue, Beaver Stadium and the Arboretum at Penn State. Other features include the 250-seat auditorium, a courtroom equipped with the latest in trial technology, four 75-person classrooms, seminar rooms, the legal clinic and generous student study space. The building also houses the School of International Affairs.

Philip McConnaughay, dean of the law school and an occupant of the facility, said the structure is "impressive and eye-catching."

"The Katz Building is both highly functional and an architectural masterpiece," said McConnaughay. "There isn't a spot, inside or out, where the view isn't beautiful."

Olcott explained the architecture of the Lewis Katz Building draws from the idea that the law library is the theoretical and physical heart of the legal educational experience and the center in which students spend much of their time. "As such, the library is conceived as a floating element, sheltering the rest of the school's program beneath. Because the law school had no previous presence on the University Park campus, the project had to create the law school's public face and provide a forward-looking, sustainable, publicly accessible home. In short, the project was to create an inspired and engaging center for legal education."

SARA was founded in 1956 as a professional society that includes the participation of all architects, regardless of their roles in the building and designing industry. Both Pennsylvania and New York awarded the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law the 2010 Award of Merit. Collegedesigner.com announced the College Designer Collabetition Awards. It is the only website focused exclusively on promoting high-quality higher-education school design around the world.

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