Universities are spending big to woo students, business schools included. A survey of 50 eye-pleasing business school campuses and buildings courtesy of website Top Management Degrees features lots of curved glass, expensive lighting, and surprising shapes and angles. Another thing that money can buy: palm trees, which have been freeze-dried and situated inside La Sierra University’s Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business.
As a proxy for an eyeball test, let’s use brand-name architects and building costs. The list includes the Frank Gehry-designed Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead School of Management, and three facilities by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Also Enrique Norten’s $85 million design for Rutgers Business School, and an even more expensive building opened in 2012 by Manchester (U.K.) Metropolitan University.
That’s to say nothing of two projects just getting started: Northwestern University broke ground last month on an ambitious new building to house its Kellogg School of Management, and Carnegie Mellon just announced a $67 million gift to build a new 295,000-square-foot home for its Tepper School of Business. Interestingly, George F. Baker paid roughly the same amount—adjusted for inflation—to build the Harvard Business School in the 1920s. (Today, only the library, a classic building that may or may not feature freeze-dried foliage, is named for Baker.)