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A prominent civic core replaces surface parking, bringing connectivity, visibility, and beauty to the urban campus

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper Quadrangle

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA
5.7 acres
Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners
©Albert Vecerka/Esto
Landscape Architecture
Completed November 2018
ENR MidAtlantic 2019 Best Projects, Award of Merit, Higher Education/Research

The Tepper School of Business and Quadrangle is located on an existing surface parking lot and is approximately 4.5 acres along Forbes Avenue on the Carnegie Mellon University Campus in Pittsburgh, PA. The new Tepper School of Business building designed by Moore Ruble Yudell and major new campus landscape designed by Sasaki is a cornerstone for planned campus growth to the north. As Carnegie Mellon continues to expand,  the Tepper Quad is an important campus center. The new open space builds upon the activity and urban context that exists to establish a positive and prominent civic core to the larger campus.

Forbes Avenue, once thought of as a barrier or constraint, has revealed itself as a potential amenity and opportunity to make a distinctive public realm through the center of campus. This strategy of embracing the urban context and improving campus visibility and connectivity achieves safety and security through openness, engagement, collaboration, and community. From this, new campus connections across Forbes Avenue are formed at improved, signalized pedestrian crossings that emphasize and prioritize universal design and accessibility.

Landscape elements consist of resilient materials and detailing that consider the long-term maintenance of the site. A biodiverse planting palette comprised of urban-tolerant tree, shrubs and perennials was employed to create habitat for flora, fauna, and beneficial insects. The irrigation system utilizes harvested rainwater from a below grade cistern and was designed to limit water consumption, while supporting plant communities including a small green roof on the building. As part of the university’s commitment to sustainability, this project is targeting a minimum of LEED® Gold certification.

The Tepper Quadrangle consists of several distinct areas as described below:


The Green

The green is the front door of the new business school. The gently sloping lawn provides space for classic campus quad activities in addition to contemporary programmed events at the new business school.

Pedestrian Promenade

The pedestrian promenade is a grand allee that connects the Tepper School through the quad and Town Square to the rest of the Carnegie Mellon campus. The promenade features a rhythm of benches and groundcover planting under a double row of canopy trees.

The Grove

The grove is a terraced forecourt at the Tepper School undergraduate student commons. The terraces are paved with a crushed stone under a grid of canopy trees with integrated seat walls. Moveable tables and chairs provide flexible seating in addition to a couple of iconic communal tables.

Garden Terraces

The garden terraces located in the Tepper Quad are planted with lush perennials that provide seasonal interest through the spring, summer, fall, and winter. The sloped gardens provide unique, informal, and intimate gathering spaces on campus.

Forbes Avenue: Urban Edge and Threshold

Forbes Avenue has been transformed into a pedestrian friendly streetscape that is walkable and bikeable. New paving and planting reshapes the street character and connects the campus across Forbes Avenue.

Town Square

The Town Square is a pedestrian friendly zone featuring programmed events, temporary retail, and new site amenities including paving, seating, and planting.

For more information contact Alan Ward.

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