Facility Focus (Learning Studio and Classroom Design)

Northwood University: Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management

Northwood University: Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management

Northwood University dedicated the Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management building in May 2016. The newly constructed, 26,800-square-foot facility on the university’s Midland, MI, campus offers state-of-the-art learning and administrative spaces for graduate-level programs. Construction took approximately one year to complete. The building is named for Richard and Helen DeVos, noted entrepreneurs, civic leaders and philanthropists.

The facility was designed to model a modern workplace and maximize the problem-based learning methodology that is hallmark to all of Northwood University’s programming. Large, flexible classrooms with fully integrated technology, adjacent breakout rooms, laboratories and lounges provide learners with a variety of spaces conducive to independent, group and classroom study. The building also has space for more than 20 offices for the graduate school’s faculty, administrative staff and admissions department.

Classroom spaces feature desks and chairs on wheels, as well as movable walls, to accommodate large and small group dialogue. Smaller breakout rooms allow for students to study, work on group projects and presentations or debate a solution to a case study they have been assigned. Whiteboards adorn every wall to capture brainstorming ideas and technology in the building is cutting edge, as are the computer lab and student lounge.

According to designers at TowerPinkster Architects|Engineers of Grand Rapids, the building’s architecture provides an “expressive beacon” at the campus’s northwest corner, “embodying the university’s spirit of leadership and opportunity.” The building’s elements of glass, stone and masonry reflect interior spatial organization. It features a two-story lobby and a central, contemporary stair layout that’s articulated with reclaimed wood cladding and glass handrails. The facility is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, utilizing the latest technologies in energy-efficient and cost-effective materials and systems.

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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