The ABA’s 2012 Bricks and Bytes Conference held at TJSL from March 11-13 was a huge success.
“It was quite an event,” said TJSL Dean Rudy Hasl, who hosted a group of law school deans, faculty, librarians, architects and information technology professionals at the law school’s new campus.
There were more than 40 programs for the professionals who attended, most of whom are designing or renovating law school space.
It was a fitting place to hold Bricks and Bytes, since TJSL is one of the most architecturally and technologically innovative law schools in the nation.
"It was so gratifying to hear the many positive comments from Deans, architects, faculty members, facilities personnel, and other professionals about the imaginative and attractive design for the new facility,” said TJSL Dean Rudy Hasl of the conference. “Thomas Jefferson will stand as a model for what can be done creatively in law school architecture.”
Dean Hasl made a presentation on how the new law school was planned, with the architect, interior designer, IT contractor and the trustee who helped guide the process of obtaining financing for the project.
“Buildings speak loud and clear of the intent of the designers,” Dean Hasl told the audience. “The message we wanted to send was a welcoming statement – to make people who use the building to feel comfortable.”
Dean Hasl went on to explain how the building was designed to have collaborative spaces throughout that were highly specialized for their function. He felt one of the reasons the design team succeeded was the great teamwork between the architect and the interior designer.
Executive Architect Mike LaBarre of Carrier-Johnson said they looked at the TJSL project as a chance to do something completely fresh. Interior designer Deborah Elliott of ID Studios said that in addition to the collaborative spaces, the goal was to give the building a very open feel, infused with light and bright colors to create a warm, friendly atmosphere.
Joaquin DeVelasco of Tekworks, the IT firm, said there was a huge advantage for his team to get involved in the very early stages of the project. One result, he said, is that the building gives the students 100% access to Wi-Fi, so they are not tied to one place when in class or studying in their favorite nook.
Sandy Kahn was the Chairman TJSL’s Board of Trustees during the planning and construction of the law school, and as a developer by profession, he helped navigate the treacherous waters of obtaining financing at a time when the economy was showing signs of running aground. The bonds were secured within days of the economic collapse of Fall 2008.
Interim Library Director Patrick Meyer also spoke at Bricks and Bytes about what relevant factors were considered when designing our new "21st century library" for our students. One topic of discussion was the seating arrangement and how it accommodates the three types of student spaces: quiet, collaborative, and comfortable. Other topics discussed were the general library physical layout (to include the balcony area, library stacks and the study rooms), legal e-books and their usage challenges, digital study aids, specialty databases, the importance of being able to access all of our digital offerings via our proxy server, and the use of QR Codes for both promotional and educational purposes.
3L Elizabeth Knowles was also part of the library presentation and added her point of view as a student and a part-time library worker.
The entire Bricks and Bytes Conference was a major team effort on the part of TJSL, and Dean Hasl is grateful to everyone who participated for their fine efforts.