Brick and mortar that inspires

The Waterhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve

Courtyard, the Salk Institute

Courtyard, the Basilica of Saint Francis, Assisi

Several years ago a friend and I visited the Case Western Reserve campus in Cleveland. We wanted an up-close look at the impossibly curvy Frank Gehry-designed building that houses the Weatherhead School of Management. We walked inside, outside, and all around the building taking photos and pointing out radical shapes and crazy angles to each other. The innovative structure thoroughly impressed us, and as it turns out, we are in good company. Recently the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an article on the building and its connection to the Weatherhead School’s brand of unconventional creativity. One student observed, “When you think business, you think uptight, corporate suits. This building is not uptight. This is where the business world is heading.” Fred Collopy, a professor at the school, notes, “This building says it’s all right to be unique, different, and special. It says to students, ‘You don’t have to be like the manager in the next cubicle.’”

In the 1950s, biologist and doctor Jonas Salk took a much-needed break from his lab in Pittsburgh and spent a few months in Italy. He was deeply inspired by the peace and serenity of the 13th-century monastery that overlooks the town of Assisi. Refreshed, he returned to the US to continue his work and soon after developed a successful polio vaccine. He later built the Salk Institute so that it reflected the architectural rhythm of the monastery in Assisi.

A physical space effects how we think, feel, and create. What do your buildings say about you? Is your campus “on brand?”