The Knight Management Center consists of eight buildings that include a 600-person lecture hall, a dining pavilion, an 870-car underground parking structure, and an abundance of classrooms, offices, and social spaces. Value-engineering the façade to glass-fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels not only produced a more durable shell without affecting the budget but helped the project achieve LEED platinum certification. The lightweight GFRC panels required no changes to the structural frame after the conversion from stucco.
The design of the 730,000 square feet (68,000 m squared) project’s exterior was planned as a modern interpretation of the university’s established building style and incorporates a number of elements iconic to the rest of campus. Covered arcades visually unite the complex and provide shade for pedestrians, while a natural exterior palette and red-tile roofs evoke the mission revival building style. Within that framework, an identity was created that is unique to the business school and emphasizes its curriculum goals of small classroom size, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experiential teaching methods.
The use of the panels provided a dramatic exterior appearance while also helping with energy efficiency. The material’s off-site casting, local manufacture, and recyclability also added to the LEED points achieved.