Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper Quad Project

Pittsburgh, PA, USA

The Tepper Quad Project provides a gateway to the new David A. Tepper Quadrangle, the first expansion project to take place on Carnegie Mellon University’s north campus. As a hub for technology-enhanced learning and research, the five-story business school features 305,000ft2 of collaborative, flexible spaces for students and staff.


In order to achieve all of the requirements of the project, we incorporated an innovative BubbleDeck structure into the design. As bubble deck is a new concept for the US, we had to work closely with both our client and the contractor to prove the value of this approach and ensure its successful application.

The health and wellbeing of occupants was a key concern for our clients, so we needed to design a building that would reflect this. Additionally, the projected needed to achieve a LEED Gold certification.

Facade of Tepper School of Business
Implementing innovative bubble deck structural design to realize a hub for technology-enhanced learning at the heart of Carnegie Mellon University. Image: Albert Vecerka Esto


Using significantly less concrete than traditional slabs, our efficient BubbleDeck structure considerably reduced the embodied energy of the building. In combination with our loft style design for the MEP systems, which integrated services distribution in the ceiling voids, this solution also allowed us to save floor to floor height as well as approximately nine feet from the total building height in line with planning limits. Our close collaboration with the whole team involved with the project ensured this new system was successful.

To encourage a connection with the outdoors, we have drawn daylight and fresh air into the building wherever possible.

To make sure occupants are comfortable, we will provide operable windows and a number of glare reduction measures, such as internal blinds, fritted glass and louvers. Biophilic strategies include multiple planted terraces throughout the building and internal landscaping.

David Herd, Managing Director

Open space created by bubble deck structure in Tepper School of Business
Our efficient bubble deck structure considerably reduced the embodied energy of the building. Image: Albert Vecerka Esto


The structural and MEP systems solutions we provided will allow maximum flexibility and adaptability so the building can accommodate future changes in pedagogy and use of technology.

A cornerstone in the David A. Tepper Quadrangle, the new School of Business will set a high standard for subsequent development while securing Carnegie Mellon’s reputation for innovation and academic excellence.

Spacious atrium of Tepper School of Business

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