New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
85,000 square feet / 8,000 square meters
A.B. Freeman School of Business is comprised of two buildings, Goldring/Woldenberg Hall I and Hall II, located on McAlister Drive, a busy pedestrian path in the heart of Tulane University’s campus. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ design unifies the two buildings into one academic complex with a new 46,000-square-foot, four-story addition and a 46,000-square-foot renovation of a classroom, two auditoriums, and two lecture halls.
Inspired by Tulane’s mascot, the Wave, and large oak trees lining McAlister Drive, the scalloped pattern of the four-story glass curtain wall entrance activates and, at night, illuminates both the outside courtyard and central atrium inside, becoming a vibrant gathering place for students throughout the day and evening.
The design of openness and transparency extends to flexible classrooms, incubator spaces for student start-ups, expanded breakout stations, a financial analysis lab, and administrative offices to emphasize visibility and approachability for community learning and collaboration. This allows students, faculty, and visitors to work in various spaces for fluid working.
The project began without a prescribed budget or program. However, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects met the challenge by using Revit/BIM from the very first day on the project. This allowed us to simultaneously catalog the existing spaces, track needs for new expansion, and commission an extremely detailed cost estimate very early in the process. Within months, the program and budget for the building were set and have been held to throughout the process.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects conducted many intensive workshops, interviewed stakeholders, toured their existing facilities, and defined a program. Once this was done, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects studied multiple means of laying out the new program: putting some program areas in renovated portions of the existing building and others in the new addition. What results was a balanced efficiency of reorganization and expansion of the school.