With twenty-first century educational spaces evolving at such a rapid pace, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the university to provide a progressive education in their outdated facilities. Rather than traditional lecture halls, classrooms with chalkboards, and static space configurations, flexible, transparent, and light-filled spaces were needed that would evolve alongside business education.
The primary goal of the project was to fully support the many “overlapping communities” of the MBA programs. Every design decision was made with this goal in mind, and the result is an innovative and unique building that supports purposeful interaction and fosters community in myriad ways. The use of transparency in concert with open public spaces creates a rich network of visually-interwoven and daylit work, study, and social spaces.
A metaphorical geode, the building design juxtaposes an elegant limestone outer perimeter, which directly references the venerable buildings of the historic campus, with a faceted, glassy inner perimeter that maximizes transparency, accessibility, and visibility in order to reinforce community. A central, public entry plaza establishes the building as a destination, creating a dramatic sense of arrival and continuing the rich network of green space that characterizes the campus.
Planning the building to accommodate a 200,000-square-foot classroom building, a ballroom and convention center, and 400 parking spaces involved innovative planning and stacking of program. The incredibly complicated arrangement yielded an innovative project where these three disparate program components are harmoniously intertwined.
Ennead Architects, LLP; also Jacobs; Datum Engineers, Inc.; Yaggi Engineering, Inc.; Jose I. Guerra, Inc. Consulting Engineers; Coleman and Associates; Hargreaves Associates; Pivotal Lighting Design; The Sextant Group, Inc.; Datacom Design Group, LLC