For around an hour late Tuesday afternoon, members of the School of Management community gathered in the General Motors room at 55 Hillhouse Ave. to see their new home.
The town-hall meeting was a chance for students and faculty to hear a 30-minute presentation of plans for the new campus from Chris West, a partner at Foster + Partners, the architectural firm designing the building. The audience of around 120 spent the latter half of the hour asking questions of the architect about topics such as environmental sustainabilty and the way in which the plans could both evoke and complement the school’s vision.
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In that way, the architect and his clients were on the same page as they looked at visualizations of the project.
“The building,” West said, “will be an expression of the School of Management and what it stands for.”
The glass complex, which will lie on the four-acre plot between 155 and 175 Whitney Ave., will have around 246,000 square feet and will include both academic and social spaces when completed by the fall 0f 2011.
The seven students and professors interviewed at Tuesday’s meeting said they were generally pleased with the design. Although one student expressed concern that the building’s design might soon become outdated, five said the new building will be a vast improvement on the school’s current facilities.
Yash Shah SOM ’10 said he appreciated the new facility’s modern design and its strategic location on a major thoroughfare in New Haven.
“There’s no way you cannot notice the Yale School of Management now,” Shah said.
Faculty, for their part, will miss the palatial offices they have at SOM’s current collection of buildings on Hillhouse Avenue. SOM Dean Sharon Oster said in an interview, though, that gathering spaces for students are more important than 14-foot ceilings for faculty.
“Faculty can write papers in offices with beautiful Gothic touches,” Oster said, “and they can write papers in offices with beautiful Modern touches.”
One student had only a minor quibble with the proposed building.
“My only concern is whether or not food carts will be allowed to park in front of the building,” said Jason Grimm SOM ’10.