Austin Falley
School of Business

Architecture team finalizes new School of Business building design

Tue, 04/01/2014

LAWRENCE — Nine months after its initial visioning session, the team tasked with creating a new home for the University of Kansas School of Business has finalized architecture and design plans.

The four-story, 155,000-square-foot building will open its doors for classes in fall 2016.

“This new space will foster partnerships between industry and academe,” Dean Neeli Bendapudi said. “There will be a buzz to it, a sense of business being done in real time. Our team has come up with a space for true interaction and innovation.”

The $65.7 million building will be the largest facility at KU to be funded through private support. Gifts to the new building are part of Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“The new school is designed to be a destination point,” said Jim Guthrie, William and Judy Docking Professor of Business and co-chair of the building committee. “It honors KU’s rich architectural history while pushing us toward more student-oriented teaching methods. The new building will support our aspirations and our mission of teaching and knowledge creation.”

The structure is built on two wings, north and south, joined by a central atrium. Nineteen classrooms and 202 offices will feature state-of-the-art multimedia, including in 350- and 125-seat auditoria, and labs and spaces to enable flexible, student-centered learning and research.

Located on Naismith Drive and across from Allen Fieldhouse, the School of Business will form a new southern gateway to the KU campus, said Dave Broz, principal architect and KU alumnus. The high-performing building will feature ample natural lights and views, sustainable roofs and materials.

The new School of Business will focus on the student experience.

“We want students to feel comfortable sticking around, working and socializing,” Guthrie said, “and we don’t want to them feel like they have to disappear after their classes.”

Undergraduate students will have convenient access to academic advising and career services, co-located on the first floor, off the central atrium. The new undergraduate hub includes 12 interview rooms for industry meetings and professional development, and the business school’s current student help area will be expanded to include six breakout rooms for team projects and individual coaching.

The labs encourage students to innovate in an open environment, allowing ideas to be exchanged easily.

“The building's openness and transparency provide views throughout the school and to the campus,” said Doug Houston, associate dean for academic affairs.

The administrative, advising and faculty offices have full view to student labs and classrooms, Houston said, “making each easily accessible to the other, revealing the latest in collaborative academic work environments.”

It will house an expansive, transparent space for centers in entrepreneurship, international business and business communication, and a number of other research-based centers.

Its design allows for easy access from three directions for students and the public, all converging on the school’s commons and innovation centers.

During the planning process, the architecture team led benchmarking trips to corporate spaces, incubators and business schools in Dallas, Chicago and Kansas City, among other locations, taking inspiration from Deloitte University, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Cerner Corporations’s headquarters.

Hired in July 2013, Gensler, a Chicago-based global architecture, design and planning firm, where Broz is based, served as the project’s design architect, with Gastinger Walker Harden + BeeTriplett Buck (GWH+BTB), of Kansas City, Mo., as its local partner.

Learn more about the project and its major milestones at

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