A New Building for the Ross School of Business

Posted by: Alison Damast on January 22, 2009

Students and faculty at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business have spent the last few weeks settling into a gleaming new $145 million state-of-the-art building on the Ann Arbor campus. The 270,000-square-foot facility is a major step forward for the school, which previously was scattered between four different facilities on campus, said Robert Dolan, Ross’s dean.

“We had a campus where we were spread out all over the place and we had never really had a coherent space,” Dolan said in a telephone interview last week.

The building was designed by New York-based architects Kohn Pedersen Fox. Here’s a look at the six-story, L-shaped building from the outside:

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Some highlights of the space include a new 320-seat auditorium, a glass-enclosed public space called the Davidson Winter Garden and a 7,200-square-foot fitness center.

Students are already taking advantage of the common areas, as you can see from the picture below:

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There are 12 tiered, u-shaped discussion rooms with a capacity for 85 students or more and five classrooms that hold up to 40 students. The design for the classrooms was inspired by the more modern classrooms at places like Harvard Business School and The Wharton School, Dolan said.

“It was clear that the kind of classroom for today is so much more discussion-oriented than lecture-oriented and we didn’t have a sufficient supply of those,” Dolan said. “The new classrooms are fabulous. They all have natural light and the right sense of proportion.”

Each classroom includes three mounted and pre-set cameras, while plasma screens hang in each group study room. Below is one of the new study rooms:

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Students and faculty have only been in the building since returning from winter break, but so far they seem pleased, Dolan said. The school spent about a year interviewing students and staff about what their ideal business school would look like, a step that seems to have paid off, he said.

“We decided that we should really figure out what a great building would look like and, based on the limited experience we’ve had so far, I feel like we’ve got this right,” Dolan said.

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