By Patricia Crisafulli
Seven years from vision to reality, and more than 1 million workhours in the making, Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management held a Community Welcome Celebration and Reception on March 29 at the new Global Hub
, home to both Kellogg and the Weinberg College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Economics Department.
A broad community of students, faculty, alumni, staff and supporters gathered to experience the stunning 415,000-square-feet of fluid design, many of them for the first time. The event marked a significant milestone that culminates the school’s seven-year plan for transformation and establishes a new global stage for collaboration and innovation. The celebration was held in the 6,000-square-foot Collaboration Plaza, the heart of the building, which is among many distinctive design elements and open spaces that captured the attention of the community.
The vision for the Global Hub
included flexible learning spaces that anticipate and adapt to the future as it takes shape. “We thought about a village – an academic village – as we created a sense of place on several different scales, from offices to classrooms to the piazzas; to make a sense of community that would operate through all the seasons and all the days,” said KPMB Architects founding partner Bruce Kuwabara during the celebration.
Kellogg School Dean Sally Blount
and Weinberg College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Adrian Randolph
, as well as Kellogg Professors Ben Jones
and Harry Kraemer
, explored the effect of physical space on the nature of work and human interaction, as well as the impact the new building will have on the university community during a panel session.
For Professor Jones, the building has already impacted his experience at Kellogg. “I feel inspired when I walk into the Global Hub
. This building elevates your sights,” said Jones, who is a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and the faculty director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative
. Key to the building’s design is open space that intentionally provides proximity across departments, disciplines, and individuals who might not, in a more closed environment, interact as frequently. “As a researcher, I know the chance for serendipity, to bump into people, is going to foster creativity even more,” said Jones.
The transformative design for collaboration was celebrated amongst the panelists. “The power of this school versus any other has been its ability to foster collaboration and teamwork,” said Northwestern Trustee Harry Kraemer ’79
, a clinical professor of strategy, who was also on the panel. “This building will take it to the next level.”
Following the ceremony, Kellogg students echoed these sentiments during a reception that featured spaces throughout the building. “When you walk in here, this space truly opens your mind. Being here will facilitate collaboration, which is one of the reasons I came to Kellogg,” said executive MBA student Anita Riyat ’17.
The ability to develop a strong network within the space was evident for full-time MBA student Christian Burger. “I have run into people in the Global Hub
I have never seen before – even second years I’ve never met,” said Burger ’17. “Being able to remain in the building outside of classes offers opportunities for even more interactions.”
Excitement for the possibilities the building will afford the community was felt amongst alumni attendees as well. “I think of the building’s impact on the value of education for the students, and, as an alum, I think of the value it brings to our own degrees,” said Lynnette Barnes Hinch ’84.
For Kathleen Caroll ’96, the openness of the building, access to natural light and beautiful views was impressive, as were the spaces to support various scales of teamwork. “I think the ability to collaborate both from the faculty and student perspective is really great. The reception tonight offered strong insight on how important it is to have a functional and beautiful space, but also a building that is flexible enough to support business leaders going forward in the 21st century,” said Caroll, adding that she is excited for the future of Kellogg.
The design for different scales of collaboration was a core part of the project brief Kellogg developed, to ensure ample open and flexible space. Among the places this desire materialized is the two-story Faculty Summit, an atrium that enables informal and formal connections between faculty and researchers.
“This building encourages connection and community. Being here raises the bar on excellence in everything,” said Michelle Buck, clinical professor of leadership at Kellogg. “The building inspires me to do my best work.” Margaret Douglas ’95, digital marketing director for Kellogg, described the common spaces as “bigger, better, and more inspiring than I expected. Coming here, I can feed off that positive energy.”
Throughout the reception portion of the evening, event attendees enjoyed live performances and refreshments, naturally gathering in groups of various sizes, already enjoying the space in the manner for which it was designed.
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