After the school outgrew its site on the periphery of campus, it asked Moore Ruble Yudell to design a new home in the centre of campus that would create a new research and education module, offering flexible spaces for individual, collaborative and interdisciplinary work.
The design team created the five-story building around a central atrium, surrounded by wide staircases with the aim of fostering spontaneous interactions amongst students and faculty. Large floor plates provide expansive open areas with no corridors while the curving terraces along the atrium on each level hold a variety of seating areas for informal gatherings.
The exterior is made of rectilinear volumes clad in masonry, counterpointed with glazed “void” elements made to syncopate and rotate to break up the visual mass. The building’s contemporary expression respects the historic buildings on campus that rely on a buff-coloured masonry. The team also created a mix to deal with Pittsburgh’s frequently overcast skies, which gives the Tepper Quad warmth, even on cloudy days.
It also includes a variety of program elements to encourage collaboration, with the first floor holding the campus welcome center, undergraduate admissions office, a 600-seat multipurpose auditorium, a technology-rich interactive learning space for studying global languages and culture, a fitness center, and a technology-enhanced learning center. On the upper floors, there are 24 classrooms, offices, the Swartz Centre for Entrepreneurship that hosts startup incubators for students, an undergraduate and graduate commons providing food services, executive education centre and conference and event space. Parking is available underground.
The project has been designed for the achievement of a LEED Gold certification. The concrete flat slab solutions have incorporated bubbles of recycled plastic in a honeycomb structure, reducing the building’s embodied carbon over 30% and reducing the need for columns in the expansive floor plates. The extensive glazing effectively brings natural light to 85% of interiors. There’s a rainwater system that collects and stores it for reuse in irrigation and toilet flushing, cutting water consumption by 50%.
The Tepper Quad will provide a new open space for the campus, located across Forbes Avenue to the campus’ historic green spaces, the Cut and the Mall.