University of Michigan Law School
William W. Cook Legal Library Restoration and Rehabilitation
Ann Arbor, MI
Constructed in 1931, the University of Michigan Law School’s William W. Cook Legal Research Library and the adjacent Hutchins Hall (1933) are significant historic structures that have been identified as contributing elements of the University of Michigan’s Central Campus Historic District.
The William W. Cook Legal Research Library Reading Room has been recognized by the AIA as being among the top 150 most admired architectural works in the country. Lord Aeck Sargent led the project to restore the historic lighting and sensitively increase the light levels within these buildings.
The first phase of the project addressed the Legal Research Library Reading Room as well as the lower level corridors and included the repair, restoration and upgrade of historic chandeliers, book case and table lights and other existing, historic light fixtures within these spaces. To further improve light levels within the Reading Room, the project also included the cleaning and restoration of the decoratively painted plaster ceiling. Plaster ceiling medallions removed during earlier renovations were restored and portions of the vaulted limestone ceilings were also cleaned. New, discreetly placed up-lighting was installed to enhance the luminance of the intricately painted ceiling. Finally new emergency egress lighting and post-mounted exit signage were sensitively integrated into the spaces, the oak study tables were refinished and a new cork floor installed throughout the space.
The use of daylight harvesting lighting controls, dual-level ballasts and minimum wattage/maximum life lamps were combined to provide dramatically improved lighting while reducing lighting energy by an estimated 30-50%.