The new building did not gain the required acceptance of people in charge, so the Law Institute was granted the old building on 74 Rämistrasse, Zurich, Switzerland. Chief Architect of the Canton, Paul Schatt, awarded the architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava but Calatrava’s planning underwent several major changes, so the project was approved later.
The galleries as well as the rear side of the galleries (the library backpack) are now strictly separated from the old building. This extension has been raised in height by the addition of a structure in steel and glass that accommodates the administration, book stores and reading rooms. Supported on steel columns in what was formerly the internal courtyard, the new development impinges on the old structure at only four points.
Six elliptical rings, increasing in size towards the top, are stacked above each other to form a gigantic atrium crowned by a roof light, so that daylight is able to penetrate to ground floor level. In summer, louvers provide shading for the internal space. The study area is closed off to the rear by bookshelves, behind which is a further light well that brings daylight into the old part of the building The reading places are oriented to the central atrium and are laid out along the wooden balustrade walls, from where there are views to the gallery levels opposite.. Spanning between the existing structure and the gallery is an open-shelf area.
At either end of the gallery are an elevator, the staircase, and the access to the building services. The lighting can be switched on individually at every study place. On the rear side of the galleries (the library backpack) there is one place on each of the five stories where students can meet to exchange ideas as well as one room for photocopying. A total of 5000 running meters of bookshelves can house ca. 150.000 books.
The number of students enrolled at the University of Zurich’s Law Faculty had been increasing steadily over the last few decades.