Carnegie Mellon University

Tepper Quad from the air

September 26, 2019

Tepper Quad Design Wins Prestigious Architecture Award

Noelle Wiker

LEED Gold-certified project earns 2019 American Architecture Award

One of only 100 chosen around the world, the David A. Tepper Quadrangle was selected as a winner of the 2019 American Architecture Awards. In its 25th year, the awards are organized by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

The annual awards, selected by a jury from a shortlist of 400 projects, are given to the best new architecture designed and constructed by American architects and by international architects with offices in the United States.

Interior shot of the Tepper Quad

“With this recognition, we appreciate that the jury understood not only the design of the building itself, but the thought behind it: to encompass how interconnected and collaborative business has become to drive innovation,” said Bryan Routledge, co-chair of the Tepper Quad committee and Associate Professor of Finance. 

Other projects recognized include the U.S. Embassy in London, Uber R&D Center in San Francisco, Google Spruce Goose in Los Angeles, McDonald’s Chicago Flagship in Chicago, and 3 World Trade Center in New York City among other skyscrapers, corporate offices, single-family homes, renovations, and restorations. 

The American Architecture Awards are the nation’s highest public awards given by a non-commercial, non-trade affiliated, public arts, culture, and educational institution. 

The David A. Tepper Quadrangle, designed by architectural firm Moore Ruble Yudell, based in Santa Monica, California, stands five stories high and encompasses 315,000 square feet on a 4.5-acre site along Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh. The $201-million project, with construction begun in 2015, is named for an alumnus and university trustee who earned his MBA from CMU in 1982. Tepper donated $55 million to name and endow the business school as well as the $67 million lead gift for the Tepper Quad. The building was dedicated on Sept. 13, 2018


Reducing carbon with plastic bubbles

The Quad was awarded LEED Gold certification in February for its sustainability elements, including a 120,000-gallon cistern to collect rainwater for reuse and the BubbleDeck floor design. The innovative "voided slab methodology" reduced the volume of carbon in the building by about 30 percent by replacing concrete in the floors with hollow, recycled plastic balls. The Quad is the largest construction project in North America to use a BubbleDeck.

Each year, about 1,200 Carnegie Mellon students participate in entrepreneurial coursework or experiences at the university, which partners on projects with more than 1,000 companies across industries like robotics, software, and health care. 


In addition to Tepper School offices, classrooms and meeting spaces, the building houses the Askwith Kenner Global Languages & Cultures Room, the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation, as well as the David and Susan Coulter Welcome Center, 600-seat Simmons Auditorium, cafe at Rohr Commons, and a fitness center.

The American Architecture Awards will be presented on Oct. 10, 2019, at a gala dinner in Miami. The award-winning building and urban planning projects will also be featured in “New American Architecture,” published by Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd.

The architect and building team included lead architect Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners; construction manager PJ Dick; associate architect Renaissance 3 Architects; structural and sustainability engineer BuroHappold; civil engineer Langan; and acoustical and A/V designer Acentech. Several committees represented the university during the process.

See the full list of winners of American Architecture Awards. 

Explore more about the Tepper Quad