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University of Michigan Law School

About the Buildings

1982

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Architecture Beneath The Surface, Grace Anderson Mar 1982

Architecture Beneath The Surface, Grace Anderson

About the Buildings

Confronted by the need to expand its library, the law school at the University of Michigan and its architect, Gunnar Birkerts, decided to go underground. The decision followed a precedent set by some other universities that, like Michigan, wanted to preserve open space above ground. Early efforts to raise a building on this site were rejected, Birkerts reports, when it became evident that such a structure would hide the Gothic presence of the existing library and impede visual and pedestrian access to the cherished Law Quadrangle formed by the older library and dormitories. Birkerts seized the underground assignment as a ...