Students, faculty discuss Kellogg Global Hub’s design, suggest improvements


Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Students sit on the stairways in the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub. While many praised the building for having several facilities open for students, Weinberg freshman Adam Davies expressed frustration over the shortage of gender-neutral bathrooms.

Alan Perez, Reporter

More than a month after the opening of the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub, students and faculty members are celebrating its open space and innovative design.

Kellogg opened its doors to the new building on March 29 with a grand opening featuring speeches from deans and architects who worked on the project. Students said they enjoyed the facilities the Global Hub has to offer, including a fitness studio, relaxation rooms and “Spanish Steps,” stairways that provide lounging space as well.

Ram Vemula, a second-year Kellogg student from Australia, said he was impressed with the facilities of the new building. The building offered everything he needed to have a good experience during his first quarter at Northwestern, he said.

Student spaces are located on the bottom three floors, while the top three hold faculty offices and spaces. Reflection rooms on the second and fifth floor offer space for contemplation and prayer. The fitness studio contains aerobic equipment and a studio for yoga and dance. For entrepreneurial students, four design studios offer space to innovate and create new products and services.

The west entrance introduces visitors to the collaboration plaza, which is a central meeting space for the Kellogg community. Some spaces are reserved for graduate students, such as various student lounges and classrooms. Throughout the building, the open glass design brings in natural sunlight and gives visitors a view of the Chicago skyline.

Jesse Greadington III, a first-year graduate student in Kellogg, said the design of the building changes the way people interact with each other. Unlike the Donald P. Jacobs Center, the Global Hub’s openness allows people to see more familiar faces.

“Because it’s so open, you see people that you wouldn’t have seen in the (Jacobs Center),” Greadington said. “Here you see people — you have more conversations and you interact differently.”

Though students are generally satisfied with the Global Hub, some have raised concerns about the shortage of gender-neutral bathrooms.

As a transgender-identifying student, Weinberg freshman Adam Davies said the shortage of gender-neutral bathrooms reflects the University’s lack of care for transgender and non-binary students.

“While I am not surprised that the University decided to include one all-gender bathroom in a building the magnitude of Kellogg, it is a sign of the University’s overall disregard for the rights of its transgender students,” Davies said.

Davies said the administration should install gender-neutral bathrooms on every floor of the new building. Additionally, Davies said the University should focus on providing gender-neutral bathrooms in all of its buildings.

Daniel McCrudden, Kellogg director of facilities, acknowledged the shortage of bathrooms in general and said students have raised complaints.

“We’ve had complaints from the students that we can use more bathrooms,” he said. “We’ll probably look at that in the future, but it will be a little bit before we can add anything.”

Weinberg sophomore Luke Spencer said despite some of the improvements the Global Hub needs, the building attracts many people, including himself, to Kellogg. As an economics major, Spencer said he is looking at Kellogg to pursue a graduate degree.

“The first time I walked in here I realized I wanted to go to graduate school here — it’s beautiful,” Spencer said.

When Sally Blount was named dean of Kellogg in 2010, she continued the work of previous deans in implementing a plan to move to a new building. Keeping her students’ and faculty’s interests in mind, McCrudden said, Blount worked with Northwestern’s Board of Trustees and University administrators to modify the proposal. As a result, Kellogg’s new building helps maintain the school’s competitiveness in the “world of business schools,” McCrudden said.

McCrudden said the design was part of a trend of architecture to move away from limestone buildings. Its curvy design is inspired by the waves of Lake Michigan, McCrudden said.

“The beauty of it by the water seemed to blend with the nature of what the location is,” he said.

The building also illustrates the “aspirational” qualities of the school’s faculty and students, McCormick Prof. Craig Sampson said. Sampson said the design was appropriate in representing the ambitious Kellogg community because it broke the tradition of academic architecture by making the structure more communal.

Sampson is also the founder and principal consultant for TBD Innovation, a management and design consulting firm in Lake Bluff, Illinois. As a design professional, Sampson said he believes buildings have the power to affect how people think. In moving forward, the school has to meet new expectations, he said.

“Now we need to do great enough stuff here that (proves) we’re worthy of a great building like this,” he said.

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