George Washington University


School of Business

Washington, DC

173,700 GSF, 16,137 M2

Architecture, Engineering

“SmithGroupJJR has succeeded in designing and building a beautiful facility that meets the technological and functional needs of our GWU business students.”

—Susan M. Phillips, Dean, School of Business


Leading educational institutions see academic architecture as an integral means to housing learning functions while also presenting a form of symbolic touchstone. This duality informs the design for George Washington University's School of Business, consistently ranked among the best in the country.

Engaging SmithGroupJJR’s educational practice, the school sought to build a central identity, organize its scattered classrooms, and unite students and leaders of commerce from around the globe. The new state-of-the-art facility resolves the complex challenge, with open, modern spaces seen as emblematic of the global marketplace. The main lounge floor centers on a handsome terrazzo map of the world, a direct reference to the school's international reach.

While the older campus buildings have traditional punched-out windows, the new hall’s classrooms, common areas and even a simulated trading floor are all lined with glass, another allusion to the open nature of business collaboration. Students and visitors outside the buildings at once experience the school’s highly visible academic resources – and the school's philosophy.