Pittsburgh area architects award Lewis Katz Building design honor

November 24, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State Dickinson School of Law's Lewis Katz Building, designed by Ennead Architects of New York (formerly Polshek Partnership), has received an Honor Award from American Institute of Architects (AIA) Pittsburgh. Each year, AIA Pittsburgh hosts the Design Awards to recognize and honor architects and designers, and promote excellence, innovation and achievement in the craft of architecture.

"It's very rewarding when a project gets recognized for the design," said Richard Olcott of Ennead and lead design architect of the building. "We are thrilled with the news."

Completed in December 2008, the 114,000 square-foot Lewis Katz Building was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements. The building features a glass enclosed law library with a reading room that overlooks Park Avenue, Beaver Stadium and the Arboretum at Penn State on the University Park campus. Other features include the 250-seat auditorium, a courtroom equipped with the latest in trial technology, four 75-person classrooms, seminar rooms, the legal clinic and generous student study space. The building also houses the School of International Affairs.

Philip McConnaughay, dean of the law school and an occupant of the facility, said the structure reflects the progressive educational program of law school.

“The Lewis Katz Building is both highly functional and an architectural masterpiece. There isn't a spot, inside or out, where the view isn't beautiful."

Olcott explained the architecture of the Lewis Katz Building draws from the idea that the law library is the theoretical and physical heart of the legal educational experience and the center in which students spend much of their time. "As such, the library is conceived as a floating element, sheltering the rest of the school's program beneath. Because the law school had no previous presence on the University Park campus, the project had to create the law school's public face and provide a forward-looking, sustainable, publicly accessible home. In short, the project was to create an inspired and engaging center for legal education."

The Lewis Katz Building also has received honors from the Society of American Registered Architects New York Council (SARA NY), the Society of American Registered Architects Pennsylvania Council (SARA PA) and the highest, Platinum rating from the College Designer Collabetition Awards for design excellence. Additionally, the Lewis Katz Building was named “Project of the Year” by Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine and as a finalist in the 2009 Building Magazine’s Project Innovations Awards.


  • The Lewis Katz Building on Penn State's University Park campus.

    IMAGE: Penn State Law

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 22, 2015