Harvard Law School

Academic Campus | Cambridge, Massachusetts

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan had just arrived as the new Dean of Harvard Law School, when she posed a challenge—could a new campus gathering place be designed and built in 12 weeks?

The site lay in front of Walter Gropius’ Harkness Commons. It was criss-crossed by underground tunnels, slated for repair while the students were on summer break. Halvorson Design took up the Dean’s challenge, and created an elegant courtyard by mid-August.  The popular new plaza instantly became the heart of the campus.

The Law School subsequently engaged Halvorson Design to renovate Jarvis Field, behind the Commons, and to design the sitework for the 250,000-s.f. Wasserstein Hall / Caspersen Student Center / Clinical Wing and Northwest Corner project, in association with Robert AM Stern, architect.


3.1 acres (combined projects)



Cynthia Smith FASLA



Harvard Law School

Tsoi Kobus & Associates (Harkness Commons)
Robert A.M. Stern & Associates (Northwest Corner)

Civil Engineer:
Nitsch Engineering

Irrigation Designer:
Irrigation Consulting, Inc.