Business Innovation Building main entrance at dusk

Lehigh broke ground on its 74,000-square-foot Business Innovation Building in May 2021 and held a grand opening March 3, 2023. (Jeffrey Totaro)

​​​​​​​Lehigh Business Innovation Building Wins 2023 National Design Award

Voith & Mactavish Architects earn SARA award for their technology-driven design.

Photography by

Christa Neu

The Lehigh Business Innovation Building won a SARA (Society of American Registered Architects) 2023 National Design Award for design studio Voith & Mactavish Architects.

The 74,000-square-foot technology-driven building supports a broad range of pedagogical and collaborative activities across four floors of student spaces including market research and computer labs, faculty offices, video-ready conference rooms, and technology-equipped classrooms for remote, hybrid and in-person classes. A dedicated suite houses the Lehigh Ventures Lab, a business incubator for early-stage entrepreneurs. The building has also provided a permanent home for the College of Business’ Vistex Institute for Executive Education.

award logo

“Two things were front of mind as we assembled the building requirements and architectural drawings: flexibility and adaptability,” said Georgette Chapman Phillips, Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean, Lehigh College of Business. “Putting the students first drove the design of this building—it would be all about learning.”

Specialized teaching-learning spaces provide enhanced opportunities for creativity and adaptability while fostering the idea of hybrid teaching. Coaching spaces, mock interview rooms and a pitch room will help build the interpersonal, collaborative and discovery-based skills needed to lead businesses in the 21st century, aiding the university’s aim to prepare students for the evolving work environment.

Multiple open spaces and gathering areas promote interaction and evoke a sense of community in the building. The lobby features a 13-and-a-half-foot-long interactive LED touchscreen display that includes a Lehigh Business timeline along with stories about students, faculty, research and alumni.

SARA was founded in 1956, and its National Design Awards celebrates outstanding architects and designers who have pushed the boundaries of creativity and innovation while staying true to the principles of sustainability, functionality and aesthetics.

VMA, Philadelphia’s most established woman-owned architecture firm, is best known for its expertise in providing planning, design, interiors and preservation services for educational clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Lehigh’s Business Innovation Building officially opened in March 2023 and is certified LEED Gold status. VMA received the award at the National Design Awards Celebration on Oct. 28 in Philadelphia.

Story by Rob Gerth

Photography by

Christa Neu

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