Zilber Hall brings administrators together
Marquette University’s Zilber Hall is designed for the masses, so it was fitting that many different people weighed in on the building’s design.
The $27 million building was created to give students easy access to all campus services. It also provided a central location for 500 of the university’s administrators who previously were scattered across campus.
The logistics of moving so many staff members to one building was a challenge, said Tim Hansmann, project manager at The Kubala Washatko Architects Inc., Cedarburg.
“They were scattered from complete opposite ends, even diagonally across campus,” he said.
To deal with the needs of so many departments, Tom Ganey, Marquette University architect, said the project team met with people from key offices such as admissions, the bursar, financial aid and the registrar to identify services they shared and how the space could best work for them. Questionnaires and group interviews highlighted the specific needs of each department, their frequent collaborators and their vision for the building.
“What struck me is how similar the vision was,” said Hansmann. “It needed to be welcoming — that idea came up over and over again. It needed to fit in. It needed to fit with the iconic buildings of Marquette.”
Some of the decisions were easy, such as placing the departments students rely on at the street level.
“We wanted to make it more convenient for students and upgrade the facilities for those services,” Ganey said.
Other design decisions took more time, said Mark Tredo, project manager for Opus North Corp., Rosemont, Ill. Although the trend in many offices is open space, he said, some departments sought a more traditional layout.
The design team listened to each of the 12 departments now in Zilber Hall and worked within the culture of each department, Tredo said.
“The building is set up almost like a multitenant office building,” he said.
Some departments, such as university advancement, marketing and communications, embraced a more open plan, while senior leadership offices have more privacy, as the work requires, Tredo said.
The building has an energy about it, he said, that all of the occupants can enjoy.
“Overall it was a real success,” Tredo said. “On any given day, you have high school parents and students touring and current students visiting the Marquette University central area.”