Report by Tansri Muliani

This tour was kindly supported/organized by:


On the morning of October 28, a small group of CTBUH delegates braced a blistering rainy day in New York to tour Fordham University's law school and residence hall. Kindly hosted by Pei Cobb Freed Architects, the tour was lead by Christina Chung, an associate partner at the architecture firm. The visit started with a presentation from Ms. Chung about Fordham University's overall Lincoln Center Campus Master Plan. The Fordham University Law School and Residence Hall, designed by Pei Cobb and completed in 2014, is the centerpiece of Phase I of the 15-year master plan. The 22-story building houses the law school in the first 10 floors and an undergraduate residence hall in the top 12 floors.

After the presentation, the tour began in earnest on one of the residential floors. The residence space, known as McKeon Hall, houses 400 (mostly first year) undergraduate students, and features modern amenities and great views of the Lincoln Center as well as the Hudson River. The bedrooms and other amenities are organized on both sides of the corridor, giving maximum view and light to all rooms. Here, Chung explained the difficulties of designing a building that caters to two completely different uses. She explained that a principal design requirement was the complete segregation between the residence hall and the law school. A 24-hour security guard monitors access to the residence hall, which is only accessible through a set of secure doors.

Delegates next toured the law school section of the building. In contrast to the upper levels, the lower part of the building has a much deeper floor plan in order to accommodate various large-capacity amenities such as dining halls, a library, and even a courtroom. In order to bring some natural light into these larger spaces, the architect introduced various atriums that span two-to-three floors at various part of the building.

In general, the law school is divided into two sections: the upper floors provide office spaces for the school's administration; some small classroom, interview, and role playing spaces; and also spaces for a non -profit Law Clinic. Several full height tinted glass walls bring natural light into these spaces. The lower floors accommodate the remaining law school amenities.

From the upper floors of the law school, delegates then made their way down to the lower floors. Level five is dedicated for the law library – it boasts a two-story reading room that brings light into the library. Level four also features a two-story high atrium and contains lecture halls. Level two – where the initial presentation took place – is dedicated for seminar rooms, which can be divided in accordance to the need, and dining halls for faculty and law students. Finally, level one, where the tour ended, houses a dining hall for undergraduates as well as the moot/trial court.
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