Nestled in a verdant valley between the mighty Alps and the calm of Lake Constance, St. Gallen is famed for its abbey—now a UNESCO World Heritage site—around which the town grew up. During the Reformation, there was a split, the townsfolk turning Protestant while the monks remained Catholic. Later, St. Gallen became an important center for textiles—indeed, it was to ensure the future of its machine-embroidery industry that, in the 1890s, the town council founded an “academy of commerce, transportation, and administration” that afterward became the University of St. Gallen (USG). Though embroidery declined after World War I, the university flourished and is today considered the most prestigious business school in Germanophone Europe. In 2015, with a growing number of students, it was feeling the squeeze on its existing campuses (it has three: two in town and the main one on the slopes above), and began thinking about a new building. But this wouldn’t be your usual classroom block—rather, a “space for our future leaders, where new forms of learning and teaching can be developed and implemented,” as Charlotte Strohm, USG’s communications officer, explains.