Contract - Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall

design - features - education design



Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall

06 March, 2014

-By Russell Fortmeyer. Photography by James Ewing and Mike Sinclair


Ivy-covered walls and traditional lecture theaters were exactly what the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) did not want for the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the home of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Its leaders recognized the new building needed to adapt to contemporary demands for connectivity, flexibility, and sustainability.

Bob Simmons, the UMKC campus architect and a key stakeholder in the project, says the building represented an opportunity to change the business school’s image. “The building places students within environments that simulate real-world situations for ideation and ‘proof-of-concept’ testing,” Simmons says, echoing a lot of new-age business philosophy. “All of the schools on campus are now looking 
at this building as a model.”

That model is a pedagogical shift for UMKC to one that prizes hands-on, technology-driven learning. The architects for the project—
a collaboration between Santa Monica–based Moore Ruble Yudell 
and Kansas City, Missouri–based BNIM—understood this intuitively. The Bloch Executive Hall integrates media walls, Wi-Fi networks, furniture on wheels to support portable workstations, and flat-screens for ad-hoc meetings, as well as a significant variety of work spaces in casual, adaptable furniture arrangements. The 68,000-square-foot building has four levels, with classrooms, lecture theaters, small-group meeting and study spaces, video conference facilities, prototyping rooms, and offices spread throughout.

Flexible spaces filled with shifting light
“Cross-disciplinary collaboration has become extremely important in business schools,” says Buzz Yudell, a partner with Moore Ruble Yudell. “This, in turn, suggests more flexible and informal ways of collaborating.” Out of the design process, models emerged such as the Design-Led Innovation Lab on the third floor, which features a variety 
of spaces for discussion and brainstorming that can be temporarily divided with operable, 10-foot-tall whiteboard walls. These operable walls are used to divide other classrooms, too, giving the school significant flexibility. Round acoustical clouds by Golterman & Sabo Acoustics dot the ceiling in the lab, as in other spaces, to allow for exposed concrete structural ceilings that provide thermal mass to balance the comfort of the rooms.

Daylighting is also a key component for creating active learning spaces. The envelope glazing for the lab features three components—
a lower vision panel with operable MechoShades, a middle panel with LightLouver blades to improve daylighting, and an upper clerestory. Rolling furniture by Steelcase encourages group formation, and beanbags keep it informal. In contrast, the 202-seat auditorium on the second floor appears more traditional, but contains tiered, rotatable seating to allow for inter-row collaboration.

Square in plan, the building has a fairly straightforward concrete structure and grid, which the architects manipulated internally by inserting a three-story atrium as a commons on the second level (the first level is a partial basement, taking advantage of the site’s grade change). Some of the active learning classrooms on level two open directly to the atrium, extending the capacity of the space for events. 
The gypsum-board face of each floor curves around the atrium on separate paths, creating a dynamic, lively circulation space for casual meetings. The atrium connects the second and third floors of the building with a stepped amphitheater of exaggerated stairs, focusing attention on a 20-screen media wall used for announcements as well as a backdrop for events. A small cafe tucked under the stepped seating amplifies the social aspects of the space.

Steve McDowell, a principal with BNIM, originally envisioned 
the atrium as having a flat glass roof, but the design evolved into three discrete skylights angled in different directions. “In the morning, you 
get a subtle light from the southeast-facing skylight that wakes up 
the building,” McDowell says. “By afternoon, the southwest-facing 
skylight floods the building with a warmer yellow and then reddish 
light.” McDowell says the shift in colors during the day has proven 
a remarkable way to tune the building’s occupants to natural 
rhythms. Such innovative strategies will help the project meet 
its LEED Gold target.

A neutral backdrop enlived by its inhabitants

Finishes were kept simple, with glass balustrades, exposed concrete columns and structural ceilings, and a Haworth TecCrete concrete tile raised-floor system, which is used throughout as part of the building’s energy-efficient underfloor displacement ventilation system. The architects used white oak wood panels in the second and third floor ceilings to conceal acoustical treatment, creating a seemingly 
random pattern out of a single module. The wood is also used on 
the amphitheater and exposed staircase. “We intentionally kept 
the materials neutral to let people animate the space,” Yudell says.

The white oak also forms slats rippling along the curved Path of Innovation wall, which acts as a north-south spine through the ground floor of the building, connecting the existing business school buildings to the south with a student center to the north. Jeanne Chen, a principal with Moore Ruble Yudell, says the business school’s previous dean, Teng-Kee Tan, remarked early on that “the path of innovation is never a straight line,” a statement that appears to have successfully translated in design.
And Simmons pointed to another sign of the building’s success: after opening last fall, more faculty members are requesting to teach 
in the new building than in the older facilities.

Henry W. Bloch Executive 
Hall of Entrepreneurship 
and Innovation

  • Architect: BNIM (Architect 
of Record) and Moore 
Ruble Yudell
  • Client: University of Missouri- Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management
  • Where: Kansas City, Missouri
  • What: 68,000 total square feet 
on four floors
  • Cost/sf: $350


Key Design Highlights

  • At the center of the square 
building the architects inserted 
a three-story atrium, into which many classrooms now face.
  • Skylights in the atrium and 
ample glazing along the 
building’s exterior draw 
light deep into the interior.
  • Operable walls and rolling 
furniture allow for flexible 
learning spaces that 
encourage collaboration.
  • The material palette is mostly neutral, with the exception of a few pops of color, in the form of painted walls and furnishings.




Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall

06 March, 2014


Ivy-covered walls and traditional lecture theaters were exactly what the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) did not want for the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the home of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Its leaders recognized the new building needed to adapt to contemporary demands for connectivity, flexibility, and sustainability.

Bob Simmons, the UMKC campus architect and a key stakeholder in the project, says the building represented an opportunity to change the business school’s image. “The building places students within environments that simulate real-world situations for ideation and ‘proof-of-concept’ testing,” Simmons says, echoing a lot of new-age business philosophy. “All of the schools on campus are now looking 
at this building as a model.”

That model is a pedagogical shift for UMKC to one that prizes hands-on, technology-driven learning. The architects for the project—
a collaboration between Santa Monica–based Moore Ruble Yudell 
and Kansas City, Missouri–based BNIM—understood this intuitively. The Bloch Executive Hall integrates media walls, Wi-Fi networks, furniture on wheels to support portable workstations, and flat-screens for ad-hoc meetings, as well as a significant variety of work spaces in casual, adaptable furniture arrangements. The 68,000-square-foot building has four levels, with classrooms, lecture theaters, small-group meeting and study spaces, video conference facilities, prototyping rooms, and offices spread throughout.

Flexible spaces filled with shifting light
“Cross-disciplinary collaboration has become extremely important in business schools,” says Buzz Yudell, a partner with Moore Ruble Yudell. “This, in turn, suggests more flexible and informal ways of collaborating.” Out of the design process, models emerged such as the Design-Led Innovation Lab on the third floor, which features a variety 
of spaces for discussion and brainstorming that can be temporarily divided with operable, 10-foot-tall whiteboard walls. These operable walls are used to divide other classrooms, too, giving the school significant flexibility. Round acoustical clouds by Golterman & Sabo Acoustics dot the ceiling in the lab, as in other spaces, to allow for exposed concrete structural ceilings that provide thermal mass to balance the comfort of the rooms.

Daylighting is also a key component for creating active learning spaces. The envelope glazing for the lab features three components—
a lower vision panel with operable MechoShades, a middle panel with LightLouver blades to improve daylighting, and an upper clerestory. Rolling furniture by Steelcase encourages group formation, and beanbags keep it informal. In contrast, the 202-seat auditorium on the second floor appears more traditional, but contains tiered, rotatable seating to allow for inter-row collaboration.

Square in plan, the building has a fairly straightforward concrete structure and grid, which the architects manipulated internally by inserting a three-story atrium as a commons on the second level (the first level is a partial basement, taking advantage of the site’s grade change). Some of the active learning classrooms on level two open directly to the atrium, extending the capacity of the space for events. 
The gypsum-board face of each floor curves around the atrium on separate paths, creating a dynamic, lively circulation space for casual meetings. The atrium connects the second and third floors of the building with a stepped amphitheater of exaggerated stairs, focusing attention on a 20-screen media wall used for announcements as well as a backdrop for events. A small cafe tucked under the stepped seating amplifies the social aspects of the space.

Steve McDowell, a principal with BNIM, originally envisioned 
the atrium as having a flat glass roof, but the design evolved into three discrete skylights angled in different directions. “In the morning, you 
get a subtle light from the southeast-facing skylight that wakes up 
the building,” McDowell says. “By afternoon, the southwest-facing 
skylight floods the building with a warmer yellow and then reddish 
light.” McDowell says the shift in colors during the day has proven 
a remarkable way to tune the building’s occupants to natural 
rhythms. Such innovative strategies will help the project meet 
its LEED Gold target.

A neutral backdrop enlived by its inhabitants

Finishes were kept simple, with glass balustrades, exposed concrete columns and structural ceilings, and a Haworth TecCrete concrete tile raised-floor system, which is used throughout as part of the building’s energy-efficient underfloor displacement ventilation system. The architects used white oak wood panels in the second and third floor ceilings to conceal acoustical treatment, creating a seemingly 
random pattern out of a single module. The wood is also used on 
the amphitheater and exposed staircase. “We intentionally kept 
the materials neutral to let people animate the space,” Yudell says.

The white oak also forms slats rippling along the curved Path of Innovation wall, which acts as a north-south spine through the ground floor of the building, connecting the existing business school buildings to the south with a student center to the north. Jeanne Chen, a principal with Moore Ruble Yudell, says the business school’s previous dean, Teng-Kee Tan, remarked early on that “the path of innovation is never a straight line,” a statement that appears to have successfully translated in design.
And Simmons pointed to another sign of the building’s success: after opening last fall, more faculty members are requesting to teach 
in the new building than in the older facilities.

Henry W. Bloch Executive 
Hall of Entrepreneurship 
and Innovation

  • Architect: BNIM (Architect 
of Record) and Moore 
Ruble Yudell
  • Client: University of Missouri- Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management
  • Where: Kansas City, Missouri
  • What: 68,000 total square feet 
on four floors
  • Cost/sf: $350


Key Design Highlights

  • At the center of the square 
building the architects inserted 
a three-story atrium, into which many classrooms now face.
  • Skylights in the atrium and 
ample glazing along the 
building’s exterior draw 
light deep into the interior.
  • Operable walls and rolling 
furniture allow for flexible 
learning spaces that 
encourage collaboration.
  • The material palette is mostly neutral, with the exception of a few pops of color, in the form of painted walls and furnishings.

 


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