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Lehigh University logo

A Welcoming Space

For generations of Lehigh Engineers, Packard Lab lobby has served as a prominent reminder of Lehigh’s proud heritage in the practice and teaching of engineering.

By Spring 2014, the lobby will be reshaped, retooled, and expanded -- and its unique perspective on the College’s legacy will be as vibrant as ever.
Renowned exhibit and architectural designer Ralph Applebaum Associates of New York was selected to take on a deceptively-simple task – to optimize this space for students and visitors while showcasing the exploits of Lehigh Engineers over time. (Note: click to review artist’s renderings of the new lobby design.)

James Ward Packard ranks among Lehigh's finest engineering and industrialist alumni. Packard Lab, home to the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, was completed in 1929 thanks to his $1.2 million gift. In 1930, at the building's dedication, the first of Packard's "Ohio Model A" to roll off the assembly line was donated to the university and placed in the center of the lobby, and has remained on display for more than eight decades.

As part of the current remodeling project, the beloved “Old No. 1” is set to be restored to its original glory. A custom-designed, environmentally-controlled glass case is being installed to display the Old No. 1. The case itself will be built in place of an existing meeting room, and will be lit to allow for viewing from all sides – including the engine, where Packard’s genius was most evident.

The new display case for Old No. 1 will also create a collaborative student workspace and will open up the main lobby area. Furnishings will be put in place to support and expand the lobby’s usage as an informal study hall space, while allowing it to serve as a meeting point and destination for campus tours and visits. A media wall will be positioned on the far side of the main lobby space, opposite from the car, highlighting Lehigh engineering student and faculty accomplishments and latest news.

For more information, please contact the Dean’s Office of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

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