Beacom School of Business

University of South Dakota

Vermillion, SD

Winner, national design competition: Sponsored by the University of South Dakota

Scope: Landscape and building are an integrated design that organized a loose collection of existing buildings into a unified campus; business school has large central atrium, tiered high-tech classrooms, trading floor, administrative offices, and 176-seat auditorium

Our design for the business school grew out of a question: How might a single building energize and transform an entire campus?

In our early visits to USD, we found that the campus lacked cohesion and easy circulation between its distinct ends that function as public portals. Our design brings a powerful organizing force to the campus. New landscapes—we created three—were as central to our design as the 75,000 SF building itself. Our first move was to relocate a parking lot; in its place, we created a new quadrangle and sited the business school on it. The new quadrangle united existing buildings, including the law school and library, and established several other building sites—one of which is now home to our second building on campus, the Muenster University Center. Our design for both buildings and surrounding landscapes also creates new vistas and path systems through the campus.

USD desired an innovative building that would significantly raise the business school’s profile. Modern but rather straightforward in form—a strategy for cost control—its zinc cladding evokes silos and steel structures in the Midwestern landscape. Inside the three-story atrium, wide circulation zones and other public spaces are light-filled, open, and transparent. A stock ticker and myriad video screens bring the business world into the school; Beacom also provides incubator space for startups in the region. Each of the three floors offers study areas to foster the kind of collaboration valued in the corporate world.

Materials: Zinc panels; precast concrete panels with quartzite aggregate, pigmented concrete, glass, steel, terrazzo, walnut, acoustical plaster

Awards:
Boston Society of Architects, Design Award

Collaborators:
General Contractor: Henry Carlson Company
Landscape Architect: The Big Muddy Workshop
Civil Engineer: Sayre Associates, Inc.
MEP Engineer: Roby Quintal & Everson
Acoustical Consultant: Acentech Inc.
Specification Writer: Lund Associates

Photographer: John Edward Linden Photography