The new Yale School of Management (SOM) Campus will unite the SOM’s faculty departments together at a single location for the first time. The building has been designed in response to an integrated curriculum that has the potential to reinvent business school education. The four-storey, highly transparent building contains dynamic, flexible teaching and social spaces, arranged around an open central courtyard to reinforce the interactive quality of the educational ethos. The building is characterised by its glazed facades that encourage a direct interface between break-out and formal teaching spaces.
From Whitney Avenue, two classroom drums and spiral staircases are visible between the slender columns that support the roof canopy, while the social spaces and café are placed at the heart of the building, facing inward to the central courtyard.
The auditorium, with an executive meeting room above, defines one curved façade of this landscaped square, directly opposite the library and main entrance. Encouraging a sense of cohesion, the design establishes visual connections between levels by varying the stacked undulating floorplates.
The ground floor contains the public space, cafes and auditorium, with the classrooms and study areas on the upper floors. The classrooms are contained within eight double-height oval drums, visible through the glazed façade. These curved spaces facilitate the integrated teaching methods of the curriculum – more than one lecturer can address the class at once, while still allowing every student a clear view and encouraging free interaction.
At the nexus of each classroom drum, smaller lounges provide informal spaces for meetings, study groups and social interaction. The new campus will incorporate a 350-seat auditorium and state-of-the-art media library, with faculty offices and administration placed at the rear. A number of sustainable measures will be implemented, including banners that rise up the full height of the facades to shade the south and west-facing elevations.
"[Foster] is truly one of the premier architects in the world, and he brings both tremendous innovation and excellence to design. What was most impressive was the degree to which he understood what we are trying to do with the curriculum and what that implies for the architectures."Joel Podolny, quoted by Bloomberg, September 2007
Area: 20 902 m²
Client: Yale University
Collaborating Architect: Gruzen Samton
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
M+E Engineer: Buro Happold
Landscape Architect: Olin Partnership
Lighting Engineer: Claude Engel Lighting Design
Additional Consultants: Buro Happold, Arup, Piers Heath Associates