Lehigh University, Alumni Hall Arrival Court and Parking Structure
“They don’t mask what the structure is, while giving it a very sculptural appearance. Through careful selection of materials, scale, and the rhythm of openings, the designers created a building that looks like it belongs on a traditional Gothic campus while also being a beautiful piece of contemporary architecture.”
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 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 design centers on an elegant, stone-paved entry court serving both vehicles and pedestrians. A stone and water sculpture celebrates the moment of arrival and landmarks the entry to the campus.
The south edge of the entry court is framed by a stone wall that opens into an enclosed garden. The wall and garden in turn screen a new parking structure, partially concealed by a steep hillside, and constructed and detailed in a precast concrete system developed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Its scale, materials and sculptural quality disguise its utilitarian role: on the north face, shingled layers of fritted glass screen the structure, enclosing a cascading stair and elevator while offering views by day and luminosity by night.