February 7, 2019

HED & SLAM Reveal Design of University of Michigan's Central Campus Classroom Building

Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED), Architect of Record, and The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM), Design Architect, are pleased to unveil the design of the new Central Campus Classroom Building and adjacent renovation to the 135,000-square-foot historic Alexander G. Ruthven Building at the University of Michigan. The new 100,000-square-foot classroom building helps to redefine the east edge of the campus along Washtenaw Avenue, creating a new gateway experience for the nearly 10,000 students expected to utilize the facility each day.

Conceived as a "learning loft," the building features expansive floor-to-floor heights to accommodate new signature classrooms for the state's flagship university. These new classrooms will accommodate the evolving academic needs of one of the nation's top public universities and will include 1,400 student seats in a variety of learning configurations, including a 550-seat auditorium, a 200-seat classroom "in the round" and other active learning classroom designs.

"The design team has worked closely with the university to design not only a building, but a series of interactive classrooms that illustrate U-M's commitment to continue to be a world-class institution. The building is designed to be purposeful while engaging the campus fabric as a gateway to the university," said Neil Martin, SLAM's Design Principal.

Composed of limestone, granite and terra cotta, the classroom building is composed of a cadence of columns and glazed openings that are powerful in scale, yet referential to compositions found in the adjacent Ruthven Building. The existing Ruthven Building will also undergo renovations and include administration and computational research space. With its red brick and limestone exterior, this building was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and built in 1928 and will be transformed while retaining its great rotunda and double height museum space.

"The university challenged us to create a 'classroom building of the future' within the context of this treasured landmark," said HED's President Michael Cooper. "The end result of our thoughtful, two-year collaborative design process will help propel the University of Michigan into its third century as a leader in higher education."

The project is scheduled for construction completion in the Fall of 2021 and will host student classes beginning in January 2022. The new building will seek LEED Silver certification, an industry standard for green building design and function.

The HED and SLAM team was selected to design the project in 2016 on the heels of a competitive request for qualifications process. For more information about the project please visit

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