Following Hurricane Katrina, the E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University re-constituted its mission as the innovative business generator for the Gulf South region of the United States. To advance its mission, the College of Business embarked on the design and construction of a new facility. In response, the design team envisioned the facility as a glass and steel ‘academical village’ for business education. The courtyard plan and building forms contextually recall the sloped roof pavilions and arcaded courtyards of the nearby historic landmark campus. These traditional architectural forms at the College of Business, however, are constructed of contemporary materials and details to illustrate a forward looking aesthetic that embodies the mission of the school to generate business innovation in the Gulf region and yet are respectful of the heritage of the campus. The pavilions are clad in ceramic coated translucent mirror glass and the transparent rotunda is clad in a bronze solar screen resulting in a composition of forms that are ephemeral apparitions of the original campus, reflecting the strong heritage of the Louisiana State University while looking to the promises of the future.
To achieve this, the design team researched glass technologies and developed a cream colored ceramic fritted insulating glass unit with mirror glass back panel which creates a moiré pattern over the surface of the pavilions resulting in a three dimensional appearance that is similar in color and modeling to its stucco-clad historic campus neighbors, but is completely different in its tailored four sided glazed detailing. The south and west sides of the rotunda are surrounded by a custom bronze screen that utilizes an arch motif. The arch motif recalls the university’s treasured campus arcades. The screen is designed to shield the glass rotunda from harsh solar gain.
At the ground level, the pavilions, which house the classrooms are interconnected by an arcade and surround the landscaped courtyard. Internally, a multi-story business commons, located in the rotunda, opens up visually and physically to the courtyard and is the icon centerpiece for the business school campus.