Alumni Hall Arrival Court and Parking Structure

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

 
Alumni Memorial Hall is Lehigh University's principal campus gateway, a welcoming entrance for new students and their families. Despite the historic Collegiate Gothic structure's stately exterior and well-appointed interior, its surroundings lacked the ambience of a formal campus entrance and convenient parking was inadequate.

Lehigh University invited Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to solve the problem of transforming a surface parking lot fronting Alumni Memorial Hall into an elegant space for vehicular and pedestrian arrival, and to design an efficient yet discreet parking structure to accommodate 330 cars. The solution involved three key steps.

First, we relocated a historic campus observatory, which had been surrounded by cars on the parking lot, to a landscaped position near the president's house. The new location offered a more appropriate setting for this charming and modest building. Once the observatory was removed, the second step was to site the new parking structure south and to the right of Alumni Memorial Hall. The structure, detailed in a precast concrete system developed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, is partially concealed by a steep hillside. Its scale and sculptural quality disguise its utilitarian role. On the north face, shingled layers of fritted glass screen the structure, containing a cascading stair and elevator, while offering views by day and luminosity by night.

Third, the cleared area in front of Alumni Memorial Hall became a generous entry court, complete with drop-off, garage entrance, pedestrian walkways, walled garden and open landscape. To celebrate the moment of arrival and landmark the entry to the campus, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson added a stone and water sculpture forming a centerpiece that is visible to visitors from multiple approaches as they begin their visit to Lehigh University.

Awards

2009 Design Award
Mid-Atlantic Precast Association
2008 Citation of Merit
AIA Pennsylvania
2008 Honorable Mention
International Parking Institute
2007 Award of Merit, Parking Category
MidAtlantic Construction
2007 Design Recognition Award
AIA Philadelphia
2007 Best Parking Structure
Precast Concrete Institute Design Awards
2007 Award of Excellence for Innovation and Design (Parking Facility of less than 550 Spaces)
Pennsylvania Parking Association
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Client: Other projects for Lehigh University