Jan. 10, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 7

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    GSB complex project begins with demolition of Woodward’s interior

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    The first phase, which began at the beginning of January, includes interior demolition of the former Woodward Court Residence Hall building that now occupies the property.

    The project will progress to site demolition in February, including tree removal and sculpture relocation. The building itself will be demolished in March, and the site will be cleared by May, when construction of the new facility can begin.

    Last June, members of the University Board of Trustees approved plans for the complex following many University and community discussions that provided some unique challenges for noted architect Rafael Viñoly.

    Known for a highly collaborative approach and fresh architectural solutions, Viñoly worked with members of the GSB integrated campus working group to create a striking design that includes a winter garden, exterior courtyard, atria and an underground parking lot for 160 cars.

    The complex, planned for completion in 2004, needed to provide significant enhancements for students and also effectively consolidate all the GSB’s operationsócurrently spread out in four buildings around the campusóunder one roof.

    The building’s proposed location also required sensitivity to the unique structures surrounding it, including the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House, Rockefeller Chapel, the Laboratory Schools and Ida Noyes Hall.

    Ann McGill, the Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Science in the Graduate School of Business and Deputy Dean for Full-Time M.B.A. Programs, recently described how Viñoly tackled the complicated project.

    McGill, who earned both an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. at the University, described the GSB’s vision for the building and why Viñoly, an internationally recognized architect based in New York City, was selected. “We did not choose a design as much as we chose an architect and a process,” she said. “And we did not have any particular model in mind. We wanted someone who could grasp and facilitate what we do here. Viñoly was great about that: he understood that students walk in in the morning and go home late at night, and in between they need to be able to do many different things that range from study to relaxation, and that many of the best things that happen here begin as chance conversations in the hallways.”

    The new building, which will have wireless computer hookups throughout, includes 10 70-seat classrooms and a larger classroom that will hold 125, in addition to 34 study rooms and numerous other student spaces for individuals and groups. There will be dressing rooms and lockers so students can easily change from the suits worn for interviews into comfortable, casual clothing. Viñoly created varied areas throughout the building, both private and public, that provide opportunities for both solitude and sociability.

    “Business schools used to be places where students went to class and then took their assignments home to study hard,” McGill explained. “We now recognize that students need to interact in many different ways, so our buildings needed to change to accommodate student needs.”

    McGill said members of the architect selection committee asked Viñoly for a building that would have excellent classroom facilities and offices, but equally important, provide an inviting environment for a complete student life, both professional and social.

    “We have rooms for our 50 student clubs to meet and bring in speakers. Lounges will be good places to eat, for everyone on the campus, and good places to gather formally and informally. We need to think of the school more like a comfortable house, with a stuffy living room, a less formal den and a totally informal rumpus room,” McGill said.

    The winter garden that will be in the center of the complex is a “big, spectacular place for all of us to gather,” McGill said. “It’s another element of the design that will make our new home very welcoming for faculty, staff and students alike. The new building is a perfect example of how a successful community and good architecture are intimately connected.