Lehigh University Building B

Lehigh University Amphitheater

Lehigh University Building B

Enhancing the “Mountaintop Experience”

Building B, located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus, was originally built as a machine shop for Bethlehem Steel in the 1950s. Lehigh acquired the building in the 1990s. HDR was commissioned to explore various options for reusing this distinctive building to enhance Lehigh’s Mountaintop Experience which offers Lehigh students working across all disciplines the freedom to pursue creative and innovative answers to any number of challenges and open-ended questions.

HDR’s proposed rehabilitation of Building B draws on the open span and high ceilings, gantry cranes and hoists of the existing building to create spaces that foster discovery and connection between faculty and students, the sciences and the arts, academia and industry. Decoupling the building from the program, the space can transform with changes in function, allowing faculty and students to experiment with new ways of working together. To restore the building’s relationship with nature and set high standards for sustainability at Lehigh, the design infuses natural light and views, increases the thermal performance of the exterior envelope, and improves natural ventilation.

Key design features include:

  • Connections to the surrounding landscape, including a link to the entrance courtyard to the North, and an outdoor assembly space, or work yard, to the South
  • A rich mix of gathering spaces including cafes, huddle rooms, and open workrooms
  • Improved acoustic quality through telescopic bleachers and a shroud that can be used to create a large gathering space for lectures and performances
  • Punched windows on the North facade combined with interior fans to optimize air circulation, requiring heating and cooling only outside of agreed-to base conditions
  • Energy efficient features like geothermal wells and photovoltaic canopies to offset the building’s energy consumption and further define Mountaintop as a sustainable campus.
Lehigh University Amphitheater
Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA
United States

76,000 sf (7,060 m²)