Work is underway on a $100 million, Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed living/learning facility at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Slated for a July 2019 opening, the two-story academic classroom building and 10-story undergraduate residence hall will be constructed as part of a public-private partnership between UIC and American Campus Communities, an Austin, TX-based student housing developer.
The SCB design references Walter Netsch, the original architect of the campus. “The building’s façade and interiors echo the geometric movement expressed in his infamous ‘field theory’ and distinctive architecture,” said Jim Curtin, design principal at SCB. The facility’s mix of glass, light concrete panels and natural materials draws upon the campus’ brutalist design palette, while providing a more inviting environment.
“UIC is a forward-thinking educational institution, fiercely pursuing its mission set forth by Chancellor Amiridis to provide an innovative residential experience for its students,” said Jamie Wilhelm, American Campus Communities executive vice president of public-private partnerships. “We’re thrilled to partner with UIC to bring one of the leading mixed-use student developments in the country to fruition.”
The complex will accommodate 550 students in both dorm and suite-style housing. Study lounges, offices, laundry rooms, a fitness center and a 10th-floor sky lounge make up part of the 16,000 square feet of shared space while another 1,600 square feet is set aside for retail.
The academic component of the project includes 51,000 square feet of classroom space, including three large, tiered lecture halls with specialized seating that can move to accommodate co-learning. The academic building will also feature active learning classrooms, several small group study rooms, a tutoring center and collaboration spaces.
The project is part of a master plan, now in its final stage, to bolster the physical development of UIC and address the university’s capital infrastructure needs as enrollment grows. “This new facility will revitalize campus housing and provide much-needed amenities to our students,” said UIC chancellor Michael Amiridis. “By creating innovative public-private partnerships we are able to address our capital infrastructure needs in the current fiscal environment.”