As construction progresses on Rutgers Business School building, Livingston Campus gains dramatic new anchor

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The new Rutgers Business School building, a skeleton of steel and concrete that only hints of the structure’s dramatic design, already dominates the western end of the Livingston Campus.

The $85 million project is both an eye-catching sign of how this decades-old campus is evolving and an impressive reflection of Rutgers Business School’s growing stature and deepening significance to the broader university community.

An aerial view of the RBS development site.

Marty Markowitz, senior associate dean of RBS’s undergraduate program in New Brunswick, said anticipation on campus continues to grow as the construction progresses. For all of its architectural flair and state-of-the-art capabilities, the building also has a purpose to fulfill. 

“We’ve been looking forward to it because it’s going to allow us to consolidate the business school into one location,” Markowitz said. “Hopefully, it will be something that will attract good students to New Jersey and keep good students in New Jersey.”

When it is complete, the 143,000-square-foot building will house Rutgers Business School’s New Brunswick operations – and growing presence on the campus. The structure is designed to accommodate the approximate 4,000 business school students and to support faculty with a mix of classrooms, offices and conference rooms.  In September, 240 business classes – 170 of them will be undergraduate courses – are scheduled to be held inside.    

The project is a key part of the university’s ambitious plan to transform Livingston, once an outlier of the university community, into a sophisticated suburban campus. The six-story structure, intended as a dramatic gateway, was recently recognized by the Financial Times as part of a collection of bold architectural designs in business school developments around the world.

The building is wrapped in giant sheets of white plastic to help keep workers warm inside.

And yet, there is more to the building than its striking appearance. Inside, it is organized to foster collaborations among students and professors. It is also one of the newest examples of Rutgers University’s commitment to renewable energy.

A sprawling closed-loop geothermal system created beneath the surface of a nearby field will be used to heat and cool the building year-round.  It will also be powered by an expansive solar field, which generates electricity to satisfy about a third of the campus.

Solar panels power Rutgers Livingston Campus.

James Carse, the project manager for Ten Arquitectos, said Rutgers has shown a high level of commitment to using alternative energy sources across the university campuses. The geothermal field at Livingston is elaborate, with 321 vertical holes reaching as far as 500 feet into the earth.

“The scale of the operations at Livingston Campus is unique,” Carse said.

The building addresses enough areas of sustainability to qualify for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Sustainable Design Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Inside, one of the distinguishing features of the building is its use of space. The organization creates a diverse habitat where individuals are able to retreat and study independently and where they can also find space for larger collaborations, Carse said.

The intention, he explained, is to create regular opportunities for encounters and conversations that allow for a “cross-pollination of ideas” beyond the classrooms.   

A rendering of the Rutgers Business School building

The master plan to transform the Livingston Campus has already brought an upscale dining hall and 400 new student apartments equipped with such modern conveniences as fitness rooms, quiet lounges and laundry rooms that will notify students by email five minutes before their wash is done.

A collection of small restaurants and shops will also enhance campus life. The retail development will include a Starbucks, a grocery store, an Apple store, a nail salon, 24-hour diner and a multi-screen movie theater, which is scheduled to open this weekend.   A Qdoba Mexican Grill is opened for business. An Asian-styled restaurant, a frozen yogurt store and other retailers are expected to open during the spring semester.

“Right now,” said Markowitz, the business school’s senior associate dean of undergraduate programs in New Brunswick, “Livingston is the hottest campus at Rutgers.”

-Susan Todd

TAGS: Marty Markowitz MBA Student Organizations Undergraduate New Brunswick Undergraduate Newark