Future Law

Truly bespoke: the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law, a building that reflects the law school’s mission and place, in and of Silicon Valley.

Let’s look into the future: the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law, a striking structure that will serve as the Santa Clara University School of Law’s new home. It brings together classrooms and space for collaboration, a legal knowledge center designed with tech and teamwork in mind, and headquarters for legal clinics. Construction begins next year, with opening slated for fall 2017.

Graceful and grand, the 96,000-square-foot building will rise beside Lucas Hall, home to the Leavey School of Business. The new professional neighborhood taking shape will foster partnerships between legal eagles and business entrepreneurs—a natural for a law school and building cognizant of their central place in Silicon Valley. (Note as well that the new building is next door to Vari Hall—HQ for the College of Arts and Sciences—and across from the entrance to Stevens Stadium.)

Observe the nod to history in the architectural design, from roofline to tall windows, and a “sympathetic palette” as the architects say: the red and tan of the Mission style. See the openness in the atrium and terrace (there are terraces on the upper floors, too), vast spans of glass, and interior courtyards. Placed and designed with campus visitors in mind, the building speaks to the stunning view down Abby Sobrato Mall to the Mission Church. SCU Law is 105 years old. And Charney Hall is being built to incorporate the “third Mission site”—the historic spot in front of the new building where the Mission Church stood from 1784 to 1818, until demolished by an earthquake.

Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), the building was chosen as the winning submission in Santa Clara’s first architectural competition. Four Bay Area–based architectural firms—SCB, Form 4, Cannon Design, and WRNS Studio—were invited to submit their conceptual visions to a 12-person architectural jury. “The competition had all the stuff architects live for,” said SCB principal Tim Stevens. “It was an exhilarating, exhausting, and thoroughly challenging process to create a building at a fabulous site at the threshold of campus.”

More is on the horizon: The Mission Campus is being transformed as part of the University’s integrated strategic plan. Watch for updates in these pages. And call this new building a linchpin in dazzling changes to come.

post-image Truly bespoke: a building that reflects the law school's mission and place, in and of Silicon Valley. Ilustrations by Solomon Cordwell Buen
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