The University of Michigan, one of the nation’s premier institutions of higher education, retained Walbridge as construction manager and architect Kohn Pederson Fox Associates for a major renovation and addition to its Stephen M. Ross School of Business complex.
The new Jeff T. Blau Hall was built to replace the aging Computer & Executive Education Building, adding 104,000 square feet to the complex. Meanwhile the Kresge Library was renovated and transformed into Kresge Hall, giving students 75,000 additional square feet for classrooms, study and meeting space. Additionally, Sam Wyly Hall, the Business Administrative Executive Dormitory and the Hill Street Parking Structure were all dressed up with new exterior finishes.
The work creates a unified look for the entire Ross School of Business complex of buildings.
With an impressive terra cotta curtain wall exterior, the interior of the buildings is customized throughout – from exquisite carpeting to walnut handrails.
The impressive upgrade enhances Ross’s standing as one of the nation’s top business school. Current enrollment stands at approximately 3,000 students.
“It’s not just the architecture, it’s the warmth you feel inside the school and the attention to detail,” Ross said during the project’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new five-story (plus lower level) Jeff T. Blau Hall provides a new eastern entry to the Ross Business School complex with a stunning glass atrium and canopy on East University Avenue. This primary east-west circulation corridor at ground and second floors is reinforced and punctuated with open stairs, narrow three-story atrium at Kresge and the new building, and access to redesigned east and north courtyards.
The Kresge Building was re-clad with high performance glass and terra cotta curtain wall and rain screen systems to bring daylight into spaces devoted to student services, academic study areas, centers and institutes and administrative offices.
The project team faced a tall order, literally, when it had to move a 250-year-old, 65-foot tall Burr Oak tree 100 yards away from the Computer & Executive Education Building before the structure was demolished.
Walbridge and its construction partners took a phased approach to completing the project and the resulting effort is a modernized, vibrant business school like no other, featuring new classrooms, large meeting spaces, and flexible space designed for team-based learning.