For over 150 years, Davenport University has been preparing its students for successful careers with its real-world-focused education programs. Today, the university serves nearly 7,500 students at campuses across Michigan and online. Building on its dynamic vision for the future, Davenport has built a new, state-of-the-art, donor-funded, $15.5 million facility to house the Donald W. Maine College of Business on its main campus in the heart of West Michigan. This multi-purpose building mimics spaces found in corporate America, serving as an educational, working, and social center to support a full range of student and faculty activities.
As the business world rethinks office space and the ways people work, Davenport looked to do the same for its work and study spaces to ensure the success of its business school graduates entering the workforce. For Davenport’s business students and faculty, that meant creating flexible, adaptable classrooms, as well as working, studying, and social environments that are modeled after those found in corporate America.
Today’s modern organizations are adding a variety of spaces in the workplace. Rather than assigning each workspace to a particular person, organizations are now incorporating multi-functional, flexible spaces. Both formal and informal gathering areas are being used for connection, communication, collaboration, and innovation. Space to think, reflect, and work individually is also critical. And, the right technology is a must to keep it all flowing.
With mobile technology, people can work anywhere they want—in just about any type of space they find comfortable for the task at hand. This range of spaces is now being replicated in office floorplans to give people comfortable, spaces to work and connect with one another. The Hub at the Donald W. Maine College of Business provides an open “coffee shop” environment, with spots to socialize and collaborate—just as modern office employees would have available to them. At the center, is an open coffee bar with tall tables that provide power and connectivity for informal work sessions. Surrounding the atrium are three floors of enclaves, touchdown points, and meeting areas where students can have drop-in meetings and collaborative workspace.
Classrooms feature a range of flexibility with multiple designs that can be made into traditional or casual learning environments that support the ways students want to be involved in their own education. Easily moveable furnishings in many spaces allow students and faculty to arrange and rearrange applications to their purpose or liking. And like designated training and meeting rooms in corporate America, classrooms also feature moveable walls and raised access flooring for future space adaptability without high redesign costs.
Previous faculty quarters were traditional offices with fixed walls and limited or no access to daylight. Today, educators’ offices have glass panels that provide a more open feel and allow daylight to pass through. The offices are a bit smaller in size than those in the previous building, but they offer new technology and a good private space for focus work. Separate breakout rooms help to compensate for the smaller office footprint, as well. These spaces encourage more interaction with students and colleagues, providing additional area for work, collaboration, small meetings, and educational feedback sessions. And of course, professors may also access the new spaces in the Hub.
Like the real business world, Davenport University’s Donald W. Maine College of Business is ever-evolving. Poised to take on change at a moment’s notice, the new building is not only a beautiful and comfortable learning environment that is reflective of current business environments, but also versatile enough to support Davenport’s vision for years to come.
Architecture + Design Collaboration
Integrated Architecture, Grand Rapids, MI
Haworth Furniture Dealer
Interphase Interiors, Grand Rapids, MI
Rockford Construction, Grand Rapids, MI
Kate Bruinsma – PBK Photography