Stephen A. Schwarzman College is the residential and academic center for the Schwarzman Scholars. Much like the program it houses, the College is designed to harmonize Eastern and Western principles while creating an elegant, recognizable contribution to the future of Tsinghua University. The organization of the building around two courtyards—one interior to the building and one facing the street—recalls both the traditional Oxford and Cambridge Colleges and the courtyard houses of China.
Beyond a low garden wall with open entrance pavilions, an entrance courtyard welcomes both scholars and visitors to Schwarzman College. Inside, a double-height forum serves as a social space for informal conversations, lectures, and large gatherings. The library and the dining hall are located on the ground floor, to either side of the entrance court. One level down, four classrooms and a conference center surround the building's interior garden court. The auditorium is located below the courtyard. Above, the scholars live in single rooms organized in groups of eight that share a common lounge—a model taken from the executive education program at the Harvard Business School, intended to foster close relationships among subsets of the 200 scholars who are enrolled at any given time. The building is clad in the gray brick characteristic of Beijing and is accented with stone and wood details. A stone watertable balances the proportions of the building. Stone and brick panels surround large windows, using shadow and detail to reinforce the symmetry of each facade. A traditional tile roof of varied heights moderates the scale of the building and accentuates its corners. The goal of the design is to embody a spirit of cultural collaboration through the organization, details, and materials of the building.