The new building for the Smeal College of Business Administration consolidates the College's graduate and undergraduate business programs previously dispersed across the Pennsylvania State University campus. Prominently located at a major campus entry, the new facility forms part of a new precinct whose centerpiece is the Meadow, a large sloping greensward. Our firm prepared architectural design guidelines for the precinct and designed the 210,000-square-foot, four-story business school building along with an adjacent 1,280 car garage and a chiller plant.
The geometry of the business school building conforms to the Meadow's arc and inflects to the new School of Forestry across its main axis. A south facing courtyard offers the College its own outdoor gathering space. The building is entered from Bigler Road, a major campus thoroughfare to the west, and through an entrance leading from the Meadow and garage to the east.
On the main level, the building comprises two rectilinear plan forms housing graduate and undergraduate classrooms and connected by a glazed lobby and a curved, four story glass atrium, which serves as a central gathering space expressing Smeal College's values of openness, transparency, and community. A 175 seat lecture hall opens onto the lobby, while undergraduate and graduate student lounges and a 125 seat café with outdoor dining open onto the atrium. Within the atrium, a sculptural staircase provides access to all levels and offers views across the Meadow to the mountains beyond. Administrative offices for the College share the second floor with its high technology instructional laboratories. The upper two floors house faculty and departmental offices for the entire Smeal faculty.
The building is clad primarily in red brick, with deep set windows and golden limestone accents. The metal and glass curtain walls enclosing the atrium and lobby extend upwards to encompass mechanical penthouses.
Smeal achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, waste diversion and indoor environmental quality. Notably, their energy and water use reduction strategies have resulted in energy use that is 34% below that of comparable buildings, and a 16.67% reduction in water use over buildings of the same size. The building embodies the “living laboratory” concept, where the building itself is used as a tool to engage undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff on how sustainability applies to the world around them.