Planning a next generation business school at Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University engaged brightspot to create the vision and program for a next generation business school. Working with leadership, faculty, staff, and students, we charted a course for a new kind of facility that promotes connection and collaboration across the university and within the business school. This vision was realized by MRY Architects & Planners and Buro Happold in the 315,000 GSF building that opened in 2018.

BrightSpot Strategy

“brightspot got our complexity and was able to adapt and flex with us. They helped us think about where we wanted to go and turn our vision into something more concrete – which programs are going to grow, what are the spaces, and how do they go together.”

Bob Reppe, Senior Director of Planning and Design, Carnegie Mellon University

Breaking the mold of a traditional business school required a unique process. This began by building on the work of a previous study and ongoing site and infrastructure strategy. Next, we engaged leadership, faculty, staff, and students to craft a vision for a new kind of facility that was guided by the principle of interconnection, not only within the Tepper School but across the different disciplines of the university. By imagining the future experiences of Tepper students, faculty, staff, and visitors, brightspot was able to identify the activities, spaces, services, and technology needed. Through an iterative space modeling process, we tested different scenarios for the growth of different academic programs and then we forecasted the appropriate amounts and types of space needed to meet the School’s evolving needs. We identified key concepts for the organization of spaces to enable flexibility, collaboration, and identity for different programs.

This process culminated in a design brief that mapped out the vision, requirements, and strategies for the new building – one that features first-rate amenities in a flexible, collaborative environment for learning and research. To deliver on the vision of interconnection, the program includes several university-wide functions: the campus welcome center, a café, a fitness center, an entrepreurship center, and shell space to accommodate growth. By offering varied places to work, meet, and learn, this design promotes productivity, inspires useful interactions, and enhances quality of life. The design is also adaptable enough to support the growth of the School and its programs.

The David Tepper Quadrangle – home to the Tepper School of Business and at the intersection with CMU’s six colleges and schools – opened in Fall 2018 and promotes an enhanced ecosystem of cross-campus collaboration. Business students in the Tepper Quad have the opportunity to interact and network alongside engineers, computer scientists, roboticists, and other interdisciplinary peers to solve problems and make an impact locally and globally.

BrightSpot Strategy
Active learning environments at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business