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The new home of the University of Cincinnati’s business college is built to foster collaboration, adapt to future needs

By Matt Koesters

 

UC

's Carl H. Lindner College of Business has garnered attention around the country in recent years. U.S. News & World Report now regards several of the college’s degree programs as among the best in the country, and it tops the Bloomberg Businessweek rankings of public MBA programs in Ohio and the Midwest. The national acclaim earned by Lindner is cited as a contributing factor to multiple consecutive years of record-breaking enrollment at UC.

 

If growth is a good business indicator, the University of Cincinnati’s college is doing great business. Since 2010, graduate enrollment at Lindner has increased 200%, while under- graduate enrollment has increased 50%. But as Lindner shattered records for applications, enrollment and student quality, it became increasingly obvious that the college needed more space. Lindner’s previous 103,000-square- foot home only had room to accommodate two out of every three classes, with the remaining third overflowing to other buildings on campus.

That changed at the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year with the opening of the new, $120 million Carl H. Lindner Hall. Located adjacent to the college’s former home, the spacious, 225,000-square-foot building — funded in part by an $11 million gift from the Lindner family and American Financial Group, the largest in the college’s history — will accommodate Lindner’s needs, both now and in the future. A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 19.

 

Students working in a seating area inside the new Lindner College of Business Building

Round high-backed booths give groups of four to six students privacy, even in the building's most open spaces. Photo/Lisa Ventre/UC Creative Services

“This stunning addition to our campus trans- forms what we are able to offer our students, faculty, alumni and business partners,” says Dean Marianne Lewis. “Our faculty and staff are always exploring ways to reinvent the student experience, and I’m excited to see how they will take advantage of the numerous opportunities Lindner’s new home unlocks.”

The building is designed to encourage collaboration, both inside and outside of the classroom. Even the largest space, a 245-seat lecture hall, makes working together in groups easy for students thanks to staggered rows of seating. Most of the smaller classrooms feature flat floors and wheeled furniture that can be easily reconfigured to suit the needs of any class.

The building also has five research labs, including the Johnson Investment Counsel Investment Lab. Named for the Cincinnati firm founded by longtime Lindner finance professor Tim Johnson and funded by a $5 million gift from Johnson and his wife, Janet, the lab is well-appointed with state-of-the-art investment hardware and software. A digital stock ticker lines the uppermost portion of the lab’s walls, and students will have access to real-time stock market data using Bloomberg Terminals.

Meanwhile, the hallways and common areas feature numerous areas for student seating, as well as “huddle” and meeting rooms. High- backed, circular booths provide privacy for groups of four to six students, and there’s never an electrical outlet far away for anyone who needs to recharge a laptop or cellphone. As technology continues to advance, the building is “future-proofed” to keep up, says Rachel Bednar, Lindner building manager.

“We tried to build a lot of flexibility into the building itself,” Bednar says. “The technology systems are cutting edge, and the IT infrastructure is built to withstand the next thing we think of. If we need to repurpose a classroom or use it differently 10 years from now, we have that flexibility.”

 

Lecture hall in the new Lindner College of Business

Auditorium 1410, the building’s largest lecture hall, seats 245 students. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

When the Danish firm Henning Larsen architects was selected to design the new Lindner Hall, the firm’s principal partner, Louis Becker, promised a building that “reflects Scandinavian design traditions of putting people, space and daylight first.” Open from the first floor to the massive skylight roof above the fourth level, the building’s atrium is a good example of that tradition. Sunlight can reach virtually every corner of the building through the skylight and exterior windows, thanks to its extensive use of glass panes in place of walls. Those who would prefer to get fresh air and a better view of the sky can make use of the building’s two interior courtyards, where they will find gardens to enjoy and seating made with sustainable materials.

“Physical surroundings and educational achievements are not separate — they’re interdependent,” Becker says. “A successful educational building also enriches its users, fosters community and improves the daily lives of students and teachers.”

Sustainability is emblematic of Henning Larsen, whose late founder was known as the “Master of Light.” Each of the Lindner building’s classrooms, meeting rooms and more than 240 private offices are equipped with motion sensors; lights automatically turn off in the absence of movement. The intensity of electrical lighting in a given room is determined by a sensor that detects the amount of sunlight reaching it, and electrical outlets in most of the building power down at night. Sensors also control the building’s heating and air conditioning.

The massive skylight above the atrium isn’t the roof’s only distinctive feature. The majority of the uneven roof is covered in a layer of soil out of which grows a prairie mix of grasses and wildflowers. The green roof isn’t just for show; rain is absorbed into the soil, reducing the amount of water runoff and safeguarding the building’s foundation.

A $1.5 million gift from the Kautz Family Foundation established the Attic Building Enhancement Fund for the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business. This donation will help build The Kautz Attic on the fourth floor of the new Lindner Hall. As a student-centric space, The Kautz Attic will be a place for creative thinking and innovative collaboration related to entrepreneurship and business education.

Although the administrative offices are located on the fourth floor, the heart of the building is on the main level. Located a short distance away from the atrium is an exhibit space, the Lindner Legacy, that tells the story of the college’s namesake in words and images.

Although permanently installed, the signage can be turned 90 degrees to create different configurations for gatherings or privacy.

Lindner, a Cincinnati billionaire philanthropist and businessman, once said, “My dream is to put UC’s business college on the map as one of the finest in the nation.” The college was already well on its way to making that dream come true; the new building gives it a home fitting of the reputation.

 

The Lindner College of Business isn’t the only one addressing growing pains at UC. Like Lindner, the College of Allied Health Sciences will begin the 2019–20 academic year in a new building.

The newly constructed Health Sciences Building, a four-story, 117,000-square-foot structure near the University of Cincinnati’s medical college, will provide some much-needed space for the college’s 3,000-plus students.

Interior of the new College of Allied Health Sciences building

The new 117,000-squarefoot Health Sciences Building is designed to maximize the amount of natural light. Photos/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative Services

It will also provide some welcome relief to the students, faculty and staff moving to the new Health Sciences Building from French East — the former Shriners Burns Institute. When it was originally constructed in the 1950s, windows were only installed on the top floor because at that time it was believed that direct sunlight delayed the healing of burns.

Like Lindner’s new home, the Health Sciences Building is constructed to maximize the amount of natural light entering the building. The skylight in the building’s central atrium reaches a majority of the building’s many classrooms, labs and offices.

“We all know that people are much happier in their spaces with natural light,” says Tina Whalen, dean of Allied Health Sciences.

“People just have a general sense of well-being when they can see what the outdoors is like. It also saves a lot of money on electricity to be able to allow in natural light, particularly with our sensors today.”

 

 

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