University of Michigan


Lawyers Club and John Cook Dormitories Renovation

Ann Arbor, Michigan

86,000 gsf

Architecture, Building Systems Consulting, Engineering, Historic Preservation


Built in 1924 and 1931 respectively, the Lawyers Club Dormitory and John Cook Dormitory are key components of the University of Michigan’s iconic Law Quadrangle. Reminiscent of Oxford and Cambridge, the Collegiate Gothic-style buildings reflect the historic character of the central campus and have remained largely unchanged since they were built. While beloved, they nonetheless needed renovation and updates to meet current codes and the needs of today’s law students. 

Exterior work carefully preserved the buildings’ original appearance. It included new roofs and an extensive survey of the masonry walls using intrusive probes to determine where masonry needed repair and replacement. The extensive interior renovation included technology upgrades, fire safety features and energy-efficiency improvements targeted to exceed national standards by more than 30 percent.  Because neither the Lawyers Club nor Cook dorm could accommodate the new substation required for the updated mechanical equipment, the team needed to enlarge the nearby library and equip it with a larger substation to serve all three buildings. Thanks to careful planning, the restoration work takes these buildings into the future while preserving the Law Quadrangle’s storied past.