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Ruthven Building Renovation, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Energized Campus Gateway
A new central classroom building will host 10,000 students per day.
Creating a hub of activity in the heart of campus.
In a collaboration between HED and SLAM, the new Central Campus Classroom Building and Alexander G. Ruthven Renovation project delivers the solution to a three fold problem on the University of Michigan’s central campus: 1) lack of large-format instructional space 2) a historic and beloved structure in need of reimagining and repurposing and 3) the university’s leadership and administration disconnected from the campus and student population.

The University was suffering from a lack of large format instructional spaces in central campus limiting their ability to support emerging pedagogy and active learning instructional styles. Conceived as a “learning loft”, the new 100,000 square foot Central Campus Classroom Building features right sized volumes and clear floor areas for new technology infused, flexible classrooms; innovative instructional and collaborative spaces to meet the evolving academic needs. These new active learning classrooms accommodate 1,400 student seats in a variety of learning configurations including a 550 seat auditorium, a 200 seat classroom in the round and other flexible high tech team-based learning classrooms.

Composed of limestone, granite, and terra cotta, the classroom building design includes a cadence of columns and glazed openings that are powerful in scale, yet respectful and referential to the design of the adjacent historic Ruthven Building.

Located in the bustling central campus area, the Alexander G. Ruthven Building made the ideal new home for the University’s administration. The 135,000 sf renovation focused on retaining the spectacular historic rotunda and double height museum space, while creating functional office spaces, computational research space, and collaboration areas to encourage interdepartmental dialogue and collaboration. This open and inclusive environment will better support the university leadership as they guide its operation to provide the best and most forward looking undergraduate, graduate, and professional education available today and thereby positioning the university for perpetual excellence.

The new Central Campus Classroom Building and Alexander G. Ruthven Renovation project, now pursuing LEED Silver certification, redefines the east edge of campus, creating a new gateway experience to the campus and providing a memorable learning experience for the nearly 10,000 students expected to utilize the facility each day.
Innovative “learning loft” design delivers a learning experience that is flexible and meets the needs of everchanging pedagogy and innovative instructional delivery
Inspirational student social zones to activate and support learning and collaboration beyond the classroom.
Captivating architectural design that re energizes the beloved historic Alexander G. Ruthven building and successfully adds a large addition that is respectful in scale and design of the historic building, while creating a compelling and active new gateway to the University’s Central Campus.
Delivers an efficient and functional workplace that brings the central administration to the heart of the campus; an environment that smartly balances openness and privacy to positively change interdepartmental discourse and collaborations in support of their mission to deliver the best education and research as a premier university.
The university challenged us to create a ‘classroom building of the future’ within the context of this treasured landmark. The 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.”
Michael Cooper
HED President
Project Data
Central Campus Classroom Building and Alexander G Ruthven Building Renovation 2016-02257-000
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Renovation + Addition
Executive Architect, Mechanical/ Plumbing Engineering, Electrical Engineering
    Designed to LEED Silver
Project Team
  • Christopher Vogelheim
    Market Sector Leadership
  • Jeff Mason
    Project Management
  • Scott Morgan
    Mechanical Engineering
  • Christopher George
  • Barrett Newgeon
    Electrical Engineering
A new central classroom building will host 10,000 students per day.
Ruthven Building Renovation, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Energized Campus Gateway