La Sierra’s business school tops most beautiful buildings list

Nov. 14, 2013
By Darla Martin Tucker

On Wed., Nov. 13, La Sierra University received the news – its Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business had made the number one spot on a list of the 50 most beautiful business schools in the world.

The ranking was published by the website, and included photos and brief descriptions of all 50 schools, including those at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Drexel University, the University of Oxford, several University of California schools, the Moscow School of Management, and the London Business College. A caption with a sunset photo of La Sierra’s newly opened Zapara School of Business reads, “La Sierra University’s brand new Tom and Vi Zapara School of brings a little bit of the outdoors indoors with one memorable feature. Real palm trees, which have been freeze-dried to keep them preserved, are situated in the atrium and reach right up to the second level.”

“The Zapara School of Business is honored and excited to see its beautiful new home recognized by,” said John Thomas, business school dean. “The ZSB building was designed to foster learning, conversation, creativity, and community, and the business school believes this goal for the building is being realized very successfully.”

The $16 million, 60,200-square-foot, two-story structure was designed over two years. It is highlighted by a sky-lit central atrium, a rotunda and grand stair at the front of the building. Palm trees, freeze-dried for preservation, were provided by Custom Made Palm Tree Co. in Ohio. The trees line the interior of the central atrium and extend upward to the second floor. The atrium runs the length of the building between two wings. It is open to the entire height of the second floor and features a 65-foot-high ceiling with clerestory windows. The building’s Troesh Conference Center includes a 385-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium.

Fullmer Construction in Ontario served as general contractor for the new building with architectural design by Thomas Riggle, president of TR Design Group in Riverside. The Zapara building also won a significant architectural award. It is among 30 post-secondary school facilities recognized for Outstanding Design in the 2013 American School & University Architectural Portfolio. The projects will be featured in the November issue of American School & University.

“We’re thankful to have been a part of this wonderful project,” said Riggle. “Andrew Walcker of IWCE Engineers here in Riverside first introduced us to La Sierra University in mid 2009. The building design process was a collaborative effort with both La Sierra University and our design team.

This started with an initial meeting on June 30, 2009 with Dr. Thomas to discuss his vision for the project. He shared his ideas of a monumental yet modern and contemporary building. From there our design team -- myself, and architects Ira Carpman and Rick Jaeger -- began to collaborate on the form and purpose of the building shape.”

Continued Riggle, “We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful view out from the building and used the rotunda to accomplish a 180-degree view out to Riverside. The main axis of the building is focused on the Glory of God’s Grace sculpture which is literally the center and focal point of the entire LSU campus. By placing the building on access with the sculpture, it creates the gallery and circulation element for the building on both floors.

Since the Glory of God’s Grace represents salvation to the prodigal son returned home (in the biblical parable, Luke 15:11-32), we felt that the building needed a light fixture to represent the presence of God. This fixture, when lit at night would look like the pillar of fire from the days of Moses and Joshua in the wilderness with God leading them each step of the way. This is our prayer for those who enter this building, that they would come to know salvation and to trust in God every step of their lives.”

The business school project broke ground in February 2012. A grand opening celebration was held Sept. 26, with presentations by city, state, and institutional leaders.

Said Riggle,“Fullmer Construction was instrumental in the successful completion of the building as they masterfully constructed the building with quality and care. The entire team is to be congratulated for an exceptional project that was completed on budget.”

  • Last update on  November 15, 2013