Text description provided by the architects. A co-founder of H&R Block and long-time benefactor to his city, Henry W. Bloch recently presented a generous gift to the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Bloch School of Management for the creation of the next generation of business school facilities the new Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
For the new facility, BNIM and Moore Ruble Yudell worked closely with the Bloch School of Management and the university to develop a unique program that reinforces the school’s core values. Leading the design efforts, BNIM and Moore Ruble Yudell integrated the two firms’ complementary strengths. BNIM’s design approach brought three primary tenets to the process: 1) generous pragmatism—a design ethic focused on balancing beauty and function, 2) high-performance integrated design, and 3) vision-driven design. Moore Ruble Yudell’s extensive campus experience informed a design approach that brought a commitment to creating places that nurture community, collaboration, and creativity and celebrate the culture of the institution.
Early on, Bloch Executive Hall was described as “not your parent’s business school.” Dr. Teng-Kee Tan, dean of the Bloch School of Management, expressed an idea in the early stages of design that shaped the team’s process and the final design: “The path of innovation is never a straight line.” The building and landscape embody that idea, inside and out.
The inside of the building emphasizes curvature and flow to create visual openness and enrich the unique pedagogy and research that differentiate the Bloch School. The design supports the school's active learning styles of teaching, group teaching methods, and design-based learning with movable walls that allow grouping of classrooms into one, two, or three separate spaces. Even the amphitheatre’s wall opens up to accommodate larger functions. Furniture and technology are easily reconfigured to allow different types of group active learning (the raised access floor provides additional flexibility). The two tiered classrooms can be changed to have a flat floor if needed. Technology allows events in the auditorium, in any classroom, and outdoors to be broadcast live throughout the building.
The exterior embodies innovation via a unique insulated concrete wall system, clad in polychromatic terra cotta panels, that connects the new facility with the existing buildings and context of the campus. The design process, too, was not a straight line. It was iterative and interactive, involving UMKC, BNIM, MRY, JE Dunn, and the larger team of collaborators.
The new Bloch Executive Hall was completed from design through construction on a fast-track schedule within a 24-month period. The building respects the traditions of the past and celebrates the present and future Bloch School community. Daylight penetrates the building, and spaces are easily adaptable to accommodate changing needs and active uses. The new hall is a tribute to the vision of Dean Tan, with a wide range of programs that support the school’s mission.
The project is currently on track to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.