Harvard Law School's Hauser Hall seems to be a born winner.
In the latest of a string of architectural accolades, the law school's newest office and classroom building was named "the most beautiful building" in the Boston area, winning the 1994 Harleston Medal from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and the City of Boston.
The award caps a year in which Hauser Hall, opened in 1994, received considerable recognition from those in the architectural world.
Designed by Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood Architects, Boston's most celebrated architectural firm, the building was also featured in the February issue of Architecture magazine and in the March issue of Architectural Record.
Harvard Law School (HLS) officials said yesterday that Hauser Hall is the latest example of the success of the Law School's $150 million longrange development drive.
"The three main goals of the drive are to expand faculty, expand curriculum and have a better student to faculty ratio," Michael J. Chmura, HLS news officer, said yesterday. "Hauser Hall gives us office space for additional faculty, provides smaller classrooms to hold smaller classes in and allows us to move faculty from Langdell Hall in, so we can prepare to renovate Langdell, which is the next stage of the process."
The building was named for Gustave M. Hauser and Rita E. Hauser, who met and married while they were at the Law School in the 1950s. They recently donated $13 million to Harvard, the largest cash donation ever to a law school.
"This award is concrete proof of the success of the campaign," Chmura said.
Gustave Hauser, Chairman and CEO of Hauser Communications, pioneered the modern cable television industry. He was crucial in the conception of the MTV and Nickelodoeon channels.
Gustave Hauser said he was elated over the award. "It took us all by surprise. [My wife and I] are overwhelmed by all the attention [the building] has received," he said.
Critics have said the Hauser building both complements and completes the HLS campus.
"It fits with the architecture of the area," Chmura added. "It contrasts nicely with older and newer buildings and it fills in the North End of the
But Gustave Hauser said his original intent wasto provide create much-needed space on campus andany aesthetic appeal is secondary.
"The building was meant to serve an educationalpurpose. The fact that it's an architectural gemis icing on the cake," he said.
Technology also played a key part in thedesign, Chmura said. First-floor lecture halls areequipped with electronic equipment to allow formixed media presentations. State-of-the-artcomputer facilities are located in the basement.
The Harleston Parker Medal, established in1921, is awarded each year to "the most beautifulpiece of architecture, building, monument ofstructure within the City or Metropolitan ParksDistrict limits," according to the BSA.
Hauser Hall is the sixth Kallmann, McKinnell &Wood; building to have won the award, following inthe footsteps of Boston City Hall, Boston FiveCents Saving Bank, the American Academy of Artsand Sciences in Cambridge, the Hynes ConventionCenter and Shad Hall at Harvard Business School.Hauser Hall is now in the running for several topnational architecture awards.
The Law School and the Kallmann, McKinnell &Wood; firm will accept the award at 5:30 tonight inceremonies at Hauser Hall