The Wisconsin Law Alumni Association Student Commons, known as the Atrium, is the core of the Law School. It is a place for students to relax between classes, study, have coffee, eat lunch, and meet informally with classmates and faculty.
A small deli, The Side Bar, provides morning sustenance -- such as bagels, scones, juice and coffee -- and soups, sandwiches and salads for lunch. The Atrium is also the center for social events, such as Student Bar Association functions and many other activities.
The Atrium was originally an outside courtyard between two older parts of the Law School building. In 1996, the Law School completed a three-year construction and renovation project that included the four-story glass Atrium with its exposed steel beams and original outside brick wall. The addition and renovation project increased the Law School's size to 138,000 square feet, up from 93,000 square feet, including 21,000 square feet of remodeled existing space.
Recognizing the Law School's unique and challenging new design, the American Institute of Architects' Wisconsin chapter presented its highest award to the School for its addition and renovation. Jurors gave the building project high marks for the way the modern design complements the 150 years of architecture on historic Bascom Hill.
The Atrium is home to the Gargoyle, the Law School's "mascot." The Gargoyle was one of two that graced the roof of the original Law Building, built on Bascom Hill in 1893. When the original building was replaced in the early 1960s, one of the gargoyles survived demolition and was installed outside the main entrance of the new building. It remained there for 30 years until it was moved to its new home in the Atrium. Another piece of art in the Atrium is on the west wall. This stone relief , made of various granites, bluestones, and stainless steel elements is part of a public art installation that begins outside in the Roger Boerner Plaza.