The $201 million Tepper Quad officially opened Sept. 13, 2018. Photo courtesy of CMU.

It’s been nearly three years since ground was broken for Tepper Quad. Today, the sprawling 315,000-square-foot building officially opened at Carnegie Mellon University.

Tepper Quad’s interior was designed with ample natural light. Photo courtesy of CMU.
Tepper Quad’s interior was designed with ample natural light. Photo courtesy of CMU.

This $201 million, five-story building, now CMU’s largest, was designed to be used by students, faculty and staff as a place to study, innovate and collaborate. And although the building anchors the Tepper School of Business, it was conceived as a shared space for all seven of the university’s colleges and schools.

The thinking behind it is this: Innovation is even more likely when people step out of their own silos and interact with folks who are doing very different work. The impact of speaking or dining or just crossing paths with someone who studies something wildly different than you can be the spark for big ideas and big progress.

“The Tepper Quad plays to Carnegie Mellon’s greatest strength — our willingness to break down silos and bring diverse minds together for cross-cutting learning and research,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian in an announcement about Tepper Quad.

“This building not only allows us to reimagine business education and research, it also serves as a place where all members of our community can create, innovate and explore in a culture of connection and collaboration. It says a lot about who we are as an institution — and where we are going.”

While the Tepper School of Business classrooms and offices occupy the majority of the 4.5-acre site, there is ample space for other visitors to work and play.

Exterior photo courtesy of CMU.

On the first floor, a tiered area designed with ample natural light offers seating and workspaces for the entire community. And an outdoor patio offers more open meeting and workspace when the weather cooperates. Clusters of chairs, conference rooms and study rooms are also available throughout the building.

The building’s Simmons Auditorium is designed to hold more than 600 people, and the second-floor Rohr Commons includes a 2,825-square-foot food court.

Among other potential spots for creative cross-pollination: Education experts will cross paths with tech experts in the new Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. There, researchers study and share teaching methods and technologies that can improve learning outcomes.

And beyond the work, study and socializing spaces, the building includes a 7,200-square-foot fitness center. Among an array of ellipticals, spin bikes, rowing machines and other workout equipment, visitors will find 11 treadmills positioned to look out through floor-to-ceiling windows on the west side of the building.

Moore Ruble Yudell served as lead architects on the project, which was funded initially by a $67 million lead gift from David Tepper’s charitable foundation. In addition, the university says more than 1,200 alumni, parents, corporations, foundations and friends of the university made gifts in support of the project.

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The Associated Press. Find a selection of her work at