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UPR Law School Building

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UPR Law School Building
Expansion to University of Puerto Rico Law School.jpg
Expansion to Law School Building
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Alternative namesEscuela de Derecho de la UPR
General information
TypeLaw School and Library
Architectural styleModernism
LocationRío Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Completed1961 (1961)
ClientUniversity of Puerto Rico
Technical details
Structural systemreinforced concrete, glass
Design and construction
ArchitectHenry Klumb, Segundo Cardona FAIA

The original Law School building of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), built during David Helfeld's incumbency as Dean, replaced a converted tobacco storage facility which housed the Law school for many years. It was designed by Henry Klumb in 1961 and inaugurated in 1962. Klumb, a German architect of international renown and a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, was based in Puerto Rico for the latter part of his life. He left a vast body of impressive work that marked the beginning of the modern Latin American movement and exercised significant influence over contemporary tropical architecture.[1]

Law School Expansion and New Library (2001) by Segundo Cardona FAIA (Sierra Cardona Ferrer Architects)[edit]

File:E05c24 UPR Law School Expansion site.jpg
UPR Law School Building Expansion, 2001 site diagram showing expansion in gray; by SCF Architects
File:E05c25 UPR Law School Expansion ground floor plan.jpg
UPR Law School Building Expansion, 2001 ground floor plan; by SCF Architects

As the Law School grew, expansion of the existing facilities became necessary. In 2001, the Law School Building was extensively remodeled and expanded under Antonio García Padilla's term as the law school dean. Klumb’s designs are organic in nature and adapt well to growth and change. In the expansion of the Law School, it was decided to preserve the original stylistic expression—an architectural celebration of modernity—and to employ a vocabulary of restraint out of respect for the character of the original structure. The expansion project and new library were designed by Puerto Rican architect Segundo Cardona FAIA (Sierra Cardona Ferrer Architects), who has worked as student intern for Henry Klumb before becoming an architect himself.[2]

The program for the project required a substantial expansion of the library and the faculty offices area, as well as construction of new facilities for the legal aid clinic and an updating of the infrastructure. The new structures were joined to the original building, preserving the integrity of the whole without concealing the individual character of each unit. Together, the reception and security areas of the library form a great open space where routes through the library converge. Visually, this area opens onto the exterior through a tall glass façade, which floods the interior with natural light, while from the exterior Klumb’s original façade is reflected. This articulates the union of the old structure with the new library and maintains the continuity between the exterior and the interior, a constant in Klumb’s architectural works.[3]

The large space provides an area in which to exhibit the 70-foot long tapestry “Madrugada” designed by the calligrapher Guillermo Rodríguez-Benítez. This monumental work forms a symbiotic relationship with its surroundings, thanks to the shape of the space, the placement of the stairs, and the interior and exterior perspectives. From the outside, the whole is unified by the restrained forms, textures and brises-soleil. The inauguration of the new library and expansion was on January 24, 2001 [4]

The design for the expansion won the 2001 Honor Award in the VI Bienal de Arquitectura - Colegio de Arquitectos y Arquitectos Paisajistas de Puerto Rico.[5]


  1. Vivoni Farage, Enrique, ed. (2006). Klumb: An Architecture of Social Concern. San Juan: Editorial Universidad de Puerto Rico. ISBN 0-8477-2754-8. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Moré, Gustavo, ed. (January 2002). "Expansión de la Escuela de Derecho de la UPR". Archivos de Arquitectura Antillana. Santo Domingo: Editoria Corripio. 7 (13): 88.
  3. Cardona, Segundo; Hermida Espada, Teresa, eds. (2008). Segundo Cardona (in Spanish and English). Guaynabo: DASE. ISBN 978-0-615-15402-2.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Negrón Pérez, Ivis (January 25, 2001). "Reinaguran Escuela de Derecho UPR". El Vocero. San Juan: Publi-Inversiones. p. 18.
  5. Fiedler, Marie Louise, ed. (2001). "Premio de Honor a la Escuela de Derecho". ENTORNO. San Juan: CAAPPR. 7 (6): 15–18.

Other readings[edit]

Gustavo Moré,ed, “Expansión de la Escuela de Derecho de la UPR” en Archivos de Arquitectura Antillana (Santo Domingo: Editora Corripio, enero 2002) año 7, núm.13, 88-8

Cardona, Segundo, “Ley y patrimonio arquitectónico: la ampliación de la Escuela de Derecho” en Acción de Clase: Órgano de comunicación de la Escuela de Derecho con sus ex-alumnos, (San Juan, 2001) edición de abril, 3

Cardona, Segundo, Segundo Cardona, DASE, 2008

Fiedler, Marie Louise (ed.), “Premio de Honor a Escuela de Derecho UPR” en Entorno (San Juan: CAAPPR, 2001) vol.7, 6, 15-18.

García Padilla, Antonio, “La Escuela y sus exalumnos: Una nueva casa, una nueva relación” en Acción de Clase, Órgano de comunicación de la Escuela de Derecho con sus ex-alumnos, abril 2001, 1-2

Mignucci, Andrés (1992). Arquitectura Contemporánea en Puerto Rico 1976-1992. American Institute of Architects Capítulo de Puerto Rico.

Negron Perez, Ivis (2001-01-25). “Reinauguran Escuela de Derecho UPR”. El Vocero.

Escuela de Derecho de la UPR en “Apuntes de Arquitectura” (archivo # 209). Dirigido y presentado por Astrid Díaz. WIPR-Canal 6 (San Juan), primera emisión en mayo 2002.

UPR Centennial, part 1 / part 2 in “Apuntes de Arquitectura Especial” (Special 30 minute edition, archivos #105-1, #105-2). Directed and presented by Astrid Díaz. WIPR-Canal 6 (San Juan), first broadcast on November 2004.

Video-interview to Segundo Cardona as part of a documentary on the life and work of architect Henry Klumb. Created for the exhibition “Henry Klumb y la exuberancia poética de la arquitectura”, on the architect’s 100th anniversary of his birth. MAPR (San Juan), October 2nd, 2004 through January 9, 2005.

Other articles of the topic Puerto Rico : Irene M. Zoppi, Efe Rosario, Abdiel Colberg, Puerto Rico Highway 690, Pedro Rodríguez (soldier), Domingo Arroyo Jr., Puerto Rico Highway 9974
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