This week the Kellogg School of Management officially opened the doors of its new global hub. The building is spectacular, with stunning views of Lake Michigan, a soaring atrium and state of the art rooms. I held my first classes in the facility on Monday morning. You can read more about it here.
I was struck by three things yesterday while listening to two of the architects—Bruce Kuwabara and Marianne McKenna from KPMB—discuss the new building with Kellogg Dean Sally Blount.
The new Kellogg hub is inspiring. I moved into the building several weeks ago, and I am delighted each morning when I arrive. Sun pours in, and the Chicago skyline is visible in the distance. I am excited to be there and eager to get to work.
The old Kellogg building? It was a very different experience: brown concrete walls, limited views. It was functional but not inspiring.
Kellogg’s new building will add enormous value to the school; it isn’t just design for design’s sake. The student experience will get better: there is a gym, a study room with a fireplace, ample space to meet and discuss, and comfortable classrooms. This will in turn lead to an improved time at Kellogg, which should then result in easier student recruitment. The brightest, most ambitious students will (continue to!) come to Kellogg.
The new building will also make it easier to bring in and retain top faculty. Attracting the best researchers and teachers is a challenge. A glorious facility makes Kellogg a more appealing choice.
Dean Sally Blount and the architects had a lot to say about the new building. One thing they never said: it was easy. The team struggled over all sorts of issues—enough that at one point they tossed out the design entirely and started over.
They also didn’t discuss minimizing costs. I’m not close to the project financials, but I suspect the top priority wasn’t minimizing the expense. There is a lot of open space, and dozens of meeting areas.
Still, most of the spending clearly went to working space. The small incremental investment for superb design will pay huge dividends. As Dean Blount noted, “It costs a lot to build an ugly building, too.”
Stop by the global hub if you have a chance. It is a remarkable place that will build the Northwestern and Kellogg brands for many years to come.