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Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners selected to design Tepper Quadrangle

The gateway building in the Tepper Quadrangle will act as a new front-facing entrance on Forbes Ave. (credit: Courtesy of Ralph Horgan) The gateway building in the Tepper Quadrangle will act as a new front-facing entrance on Forbes Ave. (credit: Courtesy of Ralph Horgan)

Carnegie Mellon announced last Wednesday that the university has selected an architectural firm to design the gateway building for the new David A. Tepper Quadrangle. The Santa Monica-based firm Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners have been commissioned to design the building, part of a large expansion of campus.

The building was described in a university press release as being 295 thousand square feet and located on a 4.5 acre plot on Forbes Avenue.

Robert Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business, described the building as one which “will house not just the Tepper school, but a number of university-wide activities,” explaining that, “the idea is to try and provide an environment that draws faculty and students in from all across campus” for both social and intellectual connections.

Dammon emphasized the presence of “collaborative spaces” for students, and said that this building and the anticipated four or five additional buildings planned for the Tepper Quadrangle are “going to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon.”

Bob Reppe, Director of Design for Carnegie Mellon, framed the Tepper Quadrangle as being part of the university’s overall expansion. “The idea is as we grow campus across Forbes, we will be creating a gateway,” Reppe said. He added that Forbes is to be “the main street of campus,” and the new building will help with “moving Tepper from the edge of campus to the center of campus.”

The Tepper Quadrangle will be where the Morewood parking lot is currently located, and is being funded by a $67 million donation from David Tepper’s charitable organization, $201 million of university money, and various other smaller donations. At the time of the donation, Tepper said in a university press release, “CMU has a long history of providing the world with innovative thinkers and the establishment of a true hub for entrepreneurship will help create the next generation of global leaders.”

Dammon recalled that the Quadrangle is “something that the Tepper school has been trying to do for a number of years now.” Talks began under previous dean Ken Dunn around 2007, according to Dammon. “Finally we’re able to put together the major sources of support,” Dammon explained, referencing the donation from David Tepper, support from the university, and fundraising efforts.

The gateway building will contain an entrepreneurship center, a Technology Enhanced Learning facility from the Eberly Center, a new dining space, fitness center, a 600 -seat auditorium — making it the largest on campus — as well as a university welcome center. The building will also officially house the Simon Initiative. “President Suresh … believes that we need a welcome center located prominently on Forbes Ave,” Repp said.

Dammon said that the building “will allow us to increase the size of our undergraduate business program,” from the current entering freshman class of 85 to around 140 students by 2018.

Many have raised concerns about parking availability in light of the fact that the Tepper Quadrangle will be built over the current Morewood Gardens parking lot. Ralph Horgan, associate vice president for Campus Design & Facility Development, however, assured, “there will be 250-space parking structure under the building.”

Moore Ruble Yudell describes themselves as an office of sixty people, whose past projects include buildings for Dartmouth University and the University of California Berkeley.

Buzz Yudell, partner at Moore Ruble Yudell, said that designing the new Tepper building is “significantly different” from other university projects he’s worked on. “You don’t often find campuses when they’re at this pivotal moment,” Yudell said. “From a planning view, it’s not just about a single building.”

According to Horgan, Moore Ruble Yudell was selected because of the firm’s design expertise and its “specific experience with respect to cutting-edge business institutes.” Horgan added that the group was “very impressive in their organization.”

In addition to their core team, Moore Ruble Yudell is collaborating with an assembled team of consultants for this project, ranging from engineering firms to landscaping designers.

Dammon explained, “There was a level of comfort with them that we didn’t have entirely with the other architects,” saying, “to be honest with you, they were the perfect choice.”

The building will be LEED Gold certified, and is expected to be completed in fall 2018. Horgan remarked that “these buildings take a long time,” and that utilities will be laid next May. Construction on the building’s foundation will begin the following May.

Reppe indicated that there will be “outreach sessions in preparation for our permitting and construction process.”

The new building is still in the design phase, but Yudell emphasized that Carnegie Mellon’s aspirations for the Tepper School “are fundamental to the planning.”