Location: Midland, Michigan
In the fall of 2014, Northwood University and the architect finalized a program focusing on the future of the DeVos Graduate School of Management (DGSM). The program prioritizes spaces that place the learner at the center of the educational process, promotes flexibility, allows for growth and encourages collaboration. The program also creates an administrative hub that will support distance-learning and satellite facilities.
The University and DGSM expect the new facility to aid in undergraduate retention into the graduate program, and to be a “beacon” on campus. These goals provided a filter for ideas as the design developed; the response balanced programmatic goals, project resources, and aspirational ideals into a focal point on campus.
Site selection studies placed the 27,500 GSF building on a prominent site that allowed for measured harvesting of trees and for the building to be a high-profile beacon at a major campus gateway. University leadership wished the building’s aesthetic to be a contemporary take on Alden B. Dow: open, glassy, professional, and consistent with the rest of Campus.
The building design focuses on the prominent northwest corner. The corner massing, open and glassy, is angled out to highlight the break-out rooms and the upper level computer lab as spaces central to the education delivery method. During evening use, the corner will create a receptive “glow” as guests arrive on campus.
To celebrate the unique program of the DGSM and relate the northern façade with the south-facing entry, a folded plane clad in a stone rain-screen is introduced to the campus material palette. The entry’s exterior vestibule shares a massing element with the entry stairs, serving as an exterior signage location. The folded plane of stone that was introduced on the northwest corner is also used to cover the entry and engages the glass corner of the building to provide shade for the student lounge.