Contract - Rotman School of Management

design - features - education design



Rotman School of Management

07 March, 2013

-By John Czarnecki


When the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto expanded, it needed a new building that would be a model for the integrative thinking approach espoused by its dean, Roger Martin. Dean since 1998, Martin is credited with developing a number of important concepts—including integrative thinking—implemented in international business today. One of the field’s most important minds, he is also a widely published author, with books including The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking, and The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. 


Toronto firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects won a competition to design the new building—from the site to the interiors—and embraced the innovative thinking of Martin and what Rotman means to the city and university. “We were inspired by Roger Martin’s well-articulated notion of integrative thinking and the inherent dichotomies of what he would call a wicked problem,” says Marianne McKenna, founding partner of KPMB. “We wanted to dramatically demonstrate that ‘design thinking’ is alive and well at Rotman, and create a building that is visibly open to its students, faculty, the campus, and the city.” 


Rotman had been cramped in a building designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects in the 1990s. Situated on St. George Street in the heart of the University of Toronto campus, the new building is just south of the Zeidler-designed Rotman building and is nestled between two large Victorian homes that are both more than a century old. The 150,000-square-foot, nine-story KPMB building was designed as a vertical, transparent campus with classrooms, study and event spaces, and the homes of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking, the Lloyd & Delphine Martin Prosperity Institute, as well as other research departments and institutes on the top floors. 


Connecting with global ambitions 


Before one enters the building from St. George Street, they pass a void in the ground that allows natural light into classrooms located below grade. Once inside, they encounter a lobby and café study area with a gas fireplace, slate floors, and a simple, graphic palette of white and gray. With the constrained site, KPMB founding partner Bruce Kuwabara noted that one major design decision was to place a large, 500-seat auditorium space—a glass box event hall—one floor above ground rather than at grade or below ground. This way, a pedestrian lane connecting with the rest of the campus is below the hall, which is visible from the street. In that auditorium, seating can be moved to the back to expose more of the white oak floors and create a more open space for events. 


“The building reflects our global ambitions and our location connections,” says Martin. “We can see out, and the world can see in. This is true of the building as a whole, and of our new, beautiful event space in particular.” 


Inside, immediately adjacent to the older Rotman building, is a sweet spot that is vital to the integrative thinking made manifest: an atrium with a steel staircase painted hot pink to coincide with a color scheme from the 1998 branding for the school by design icon Bruce Mau. A hub for casual conversations and people in motion, the staircase and atrium bring people together who are otherwise in a classroom or study space. 


Classrooms are equipped with the latest technology, and the building was designed with multiple study rooms for group discussions. Students and faculty can enjoy a fifth floor roof terrace with sweeping views of the campus and city. And another outdoor terrace is next to the top floor institutes, a perk for the institute scholars, which include noted urbanist and author Richard Florida.


Engaging students while growing in stature

“The brand of the Rotman School is ‘A New Way to Think,’” Martin says. “KPMB’s design brings this strategy to life in important ways. The high-tech classrooms allow our faculty to push the boundaries of the learning experience, incorporating technology in ways that deepen understanding and increase engagement for our students.”

The expansion has also allowed the school to grow its MBA class from 270 to nearly 400 students, similar in size to the business school at Stanford University and the MIT Sloan School. And the school has transformed from being a minor player in management education to being ranked by the Financial Times as the number one business school in Canada, and a destination for international firms looking to hire. “Under Martin’s deanship, Rotman has risen in the rankings of business schools,” says Kuwabara. “We expressed the growing stature by making a building that is more extroverted, stretching vertically, looking outwards, and more transparent.” 


Key Design Highlights
  • KPMB’s overall design coincides
    with the school’s focus on
    integrative thinking. 

  • As the top business school in
    Canada, the new building further
    solidifies Rotman’s stature.
  • A large, central staircase was
    designed to facilitate informal
    connections between students
    and faculty. 

  • An event hall hovering one floor
    above street level creates a 
    public face for the activities
    within the school.
  • 
Outdoor terraces allow for views
    of the campus and the city.

University of Toronto Rotman
Where Toronto
School of Management
Designer Kuwabara Payne  
McKenna Blumberg Architects
Client University of Toronto
What 150,000 square feet on
nine floors
Cost/sf $433

SOURCES

who Architect and interior designer: Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. Architecture and interior design project team: Bruce Kuwabara, design partner; Marianne McKenna, partner-in-charge; Luigi
LaRocca, principal-in-charge; Paulo Rocha, associate, design and project architect, all phases; Dave Smythe, associate, project architect, contract administra- tion; Myriam Tawadros, project architect; Bruno Weber; John Peterson; Janice Wong; Richard Wong; Victor Garzon; Lilly Liaukus; Bryn Marler; Rachel
Stecker; Maryam Karimi; Carolyn Lee; Danielle Sucher; Laura Carwardine. Contractor: Eastern Construction. Electrical: Smith + Andersen. Engineering: Smith + Andersen (mechanical); Halcrow Yolles (structural). Kitchen: Kaizen Foodservice Planning and Design, Inc. Landscape: Janet Rosenberg + Associates. Graphics: Entro/G+A. Acoustician: Aercoustics Engineering Ltd. Heritage: ERA Architects. Building envelope: BVDA Group.
  
what Paint: ICI Paints. Tackboard: Forbo. Walls: CGC (dry); Dorma (movable); Modernfold (movable); Moveo (movable). Flooring: Burmatex (carpet); Admonter (oak). Ceiling: Armstrong; CGC; Ontario Acoustic Supply Inc. Interior lighting: Cooper (recessed, pendant); Haworth (task, floor/table). Exterior lighting: Axis Lighting; DeltaLight; Ghidini. Doors: Commercial Doors and Hardware (hollow metal); Doorland Group (wood); Sargent (hardware). Glass: Albion (architectural, decorative); Unifor (decorative). Window treatments: Sun Project. Workstations: Knoll. Seating: Arper (auditorium, cafeteria, lounge); Coalesse (lounge); custom (lounge); Herman Miller (workstation/ task, conference); Keilhauer (lounge); Knoll (lounge); SDR Seating(auditorium). Upholstery: Edelman Leather; Knoll; Maharam. Tables: Blue Dot (conference); custom (reception, cafeteria/dining); Derek McLeod (other); Klaus (cafeteria/ dining); Knoll (conference); Rander+Radius (conference); Unifor (conference). Storage systems: Knoll (files, shelving, closet systems, drawers/case goods); Shanahan’s (lockers/ cubbies). Architectural/custom woodworking: Art Magic Carpentry; MCM 2001. Planters: Woeller. Signage: Acumen Visual Group Inc. Plumbing: American
Standard; Delta; TOTO.  




Rotman School of Management

07 March, 2013


Photography by Tom Arban and Maris Mezulis

When the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto expanded, it needed a new building that would be a model for the integrative thinking approach espoused by its dean, Roger Martin. Dean since 1998, Martin is credited with developing a number of important concepts—including integrative thinking—implemented in international business today. One of the field’s most important minds, he is also a widely published author, with books including The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking, and The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. 


Toronto firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects won a competition to design the new building—from the site to the interiors—and embraced the innovative thinking of Martin and what Rotman means to the city and university. “We were inspired by Roger Martin’s well-articulated notion of integrative thinking and the inherent dichotomies of what he would call a wicked problem,” says Marianne McKenna, founding partner of KPMB. “We wanted to dramatically demonstrate that ‘design thinking’ is alive and well at Rotman, and create a building that is visibly open to its students, faculty, the campus, and the city.” 


Rotman had been cramped in a building designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects in the 1990s. Situated on St. George Street in the heart of the University of Toronto campus, the new building is just south of the Zeidler-designed Rotman building and is nestled between two large Victorian homes that are both more than a century old. The 150,000-square-foot, nine-story KPMB building was designed as a vertical, transparent campus with classrooms, study and event spaces, and the homes of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking, the Lloyd & Delphine Martin Prosperity Institute, as well as other research departments and institutes on the top floors. 


Connecting with global ambitions 


Before one enters the building from St. George Street, they pass a void in the ground that allows natural light into classrooms located below grade. Once inside, they encounter a lobby and café study area with a gas fireplace, slate floors, and a simple, graphic palette of white and gray. With the constrained site, KPMB founding partner Bruce Kuwabara noted that one major design decision was to place a large, 500-seat auditorium space—a glass box event hall—one floor above ground rather than at grade or below ground. This way, a pedestrian lane connecting with the rest of the campus is below the hall, which is visible from the street. In that auditorium, seating can be moved to the back to expose more of the white oak floors and create a more open space for events. 


“The building reflects our global ambitions and our location connections,” says Martin. “We can see out, and the world can see in. This is true of the building as a whole, and of our new, beautiful event space in particular.” 


Inside, immediately adjacent to the older Rotman building, is a sweet spot that is vital to the integrative thinking made manifest: an atrium with a steel staircase painted hot pink to coincide with a color scheme from the 1998 branding for the school by design icon Bruce Mau. A hub for casual conversations and people in motion, the staircase and atrium bring people together who are otherwise in a classroom or study space. 


Classrooms are equipped with the latest technology, and the building was designed with multiple study rooms for group discussions. Students and faculty can enjoy a fifth floor roof terrace with sweeping views of the campus and city. And another outdoor terrace is next to the top floor institutes, a perk for the institute scholars, which include noted urbanist and author Richard Florida.


Engaging students while growing in stature

“The brand of the Rotman School is ‘A New Way to Think,’” Martin says. “KPMB’s design brings this strategy to life in important ways. The high-tech classrooms allow our faculty to push the boundaries of the learning experience, incorporating technology in ways that deepen understanding and increase engagement for our students.”

The expansion has also allowed the school to grow its MBA class from 270 to nearly 400 students, similar in size to the business school at Stanford University and the MIT Sloan School. And the school has transformed from being a minor player in management education to being ranked by the Financial Times as the number one business school in Canada, and a destination for international firms looking to hire. “Under Martin’s deanship, Rotman has risen in the rankings of business schools,” says Kuwabara. “We expressed the growing stature by making a building that is more extroverted, stretching vertically, looking outwards, and more transparent.” 


Key Design Highlights
  • KPMB’s overall design coincides
    with the school’s focus on
    integrative thinking. 

  • As the top business school in
    Canada, the new building further
    solidifies Rotman’s stature.
  • A large, central staircase was
    designed to facilitate informal
    connections between students
    and faculty. 

  • An event hall hovering one floor
    above street level creates a 
    public face for the activities
    within the school.
  • 
Outdoor terraces allow for views
    of the campus and the city.

University of Toronto Rotman
Where Toronto
School of Management
Designer Kuwabara Payne  
McKenna Blumberg Architects
Client University of Toronto
What 150,000 square feet on
nine floors
Cost/sf $433

SOURCES

who Architect and interior designer: Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. Architecture and interior design project team: Bruce Kuwabara, design partner; Marianne McKenna, partner-in-charge; Luigi
LaRocca, principal-in-charge; Paulo Rocha, associate, design and project architect, all phases; Dave Smythe, associate, project architect, contract administra- tion; Myriam Tawadros, project architect; Bruno Weber; John Peterson; Janice Wong; Richard Wong; Victor Garzon; Lilly Liaukus; Bryn Marler; Rachel
Stecker; Maryam Karimi; Carolyn Lee; Danielle Sucher; Laura Carwardine. Contractor: Eastern Construction. Electrical: Smith + Andersen. Engineering: Smith + Andersen (mechanical); Halcrow Yolles (structural). Kitchen: Kaizen Foodservice Planning and Design, Inc. Landscape: Janet Rosenberg + Associates. Graphics: Entro/G+A. Acoustician: Aercoustics Engineering Ltd. Heritage: ERA Architects. Building envelope: BVDA Group.
  
what Paint: ICI Paints. Tackboard: Forbo. Walls: CGC (dry); Dorma (movable); Modernfold (movable); Moveo (movable). Flooring: Burmatex (carpet); Admonter (oak). Ceiling: Armstrong; CGC; Ontario Acoustic Supply Inc. Interior lighting: Cooper (recessed, pendant); Haworth (task, floor/table). Exterior lighting: Axis Lighting; DeltaLight; Ghidini. Doors: Commercial Doors and Hardware (hollow metal); Doorland Group (wood); Sargent (hardware). Glass: Albion (architectural, decorative); Unifor (decorative). Window treatments: Sun Project. Workstations: Knoll. Seating: Arper (auditorium, cafeteria, lounge); Coalesse (lounge); custom (lounge); Herman Miller (workstation/ task, conference); Keilhauer (lounge); Knoll (lounge); SDR Seating(auditorium). Upholstery: Edelman Leather; Knoll; Maharam. Tables: Blue Dot (conference); custom (reception, cafeteria/dining); Derek McLeod (other); Klaus (cafeteria/ dining); Knoll (conference); Rander+Radius (conference); Unifor (conference). Storage systems: Knoll (files, shelving, closet systems, drawers/case goods); Shanahan’s (lockers/ cubbies). Architectural/custom woodworking: Art Magic Carpentry; MCM 2001. Planters: Woeller. Signage: Acumen Visual Group Inc. Plumbing: American
Standard; Delta; TOTO.  

 


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