Mills College Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business

Oakland, California, United States

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At Mills College, the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business building supports the university’s mission of providing innovative education and expanding opportunities for women, as well as its focus on environment and social responsibility. It reflects the vision and vitality of an institution looking to the future. Designed to foster collaboration and teamwork among students, faculty and staff, the new GSB serves as a central hub on campus for events, learning and casual gatherings, both large and small.

The Nature of Place

With the introduction of its MBA program in 2001, Mills required a new building that would provide a state-of-the-art, dynamic and vibrant learning environment concurrent with the school’s mission to transcend boundaries for women. Located at the symbolic gateway to the campus, the new building integrates innovative building technologies with sustainability strategies to advance Mills’ traditions of environmental stewardship and leadership in social responsibility. Forward-looking, yet respectful of context, the building’s L-shaped plan and southwest orientation foster the conservation of historic green space and provides optimal sun exposure.

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Photo credit: Nic Lehoux

The Nature of People

Starting at its entrance, the two-story building encourages impromptu interaction, its deep indoor/outdoor porch inviting students, faculty, and visitors to pause and engage. This porch is covered with a living roof, planted with drought-tolerant succulents, showcasing the benefits of solar shading, water conservation and the institution’s focus on social responsibility. Inside, the porch becomes the entry lobby and main circulation space. The centerpiece of the building is the spectacular Gathering Hall, which serves as a venue for key campus events. Flanked by a terrace and iris pond, the Gathering Hall serves as a prominent, accessible hub. In addition to the lecture halls, smart classrooms and a state-of-the-art computer laboratory, breakout rooms and a student lounge support focused teamwork and informal group discussion.

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Photo credit: Nic Lehoux

The Nature of Materials

Business imperatives of transparency, interaction, and engagement with the outside world are reflected in floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights that bring in natural light and stimulate intellectual energy. The visible integration of sustainable solutions educates the occupants and results in measurable energy- and cost-saving benefits. A LEED Gold rating confirms the building has met rigorous criteria for energy efficiency, water conservation and use of air and light. It also symbolizes Mills’ commitment to educating socially and environmentally responsible business leaders.

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Photo credit: Nic Lehoux

Project Data

Oakland, California, United States
2006 – 2009
Mills College
28,000 SF


Good Design is Good Business Awards
Notable Award, SERVE Category
Citation of Merit for Architectural Excellence