Work has completed on the new Academic and Residential Complex at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) designed the project as part of a public-private-partnership with American Campus Communities and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The mixed-use project is composed of a 52,000-square-foot, two-story academic classroom building and a 131,000-square-foot, 10-story undergraduate residence hall. Designed with a “nod to Netsch,” the original architect of the campus, the building’s façade and interiors echo the geometric movement expressed in Walter A. Netsch’s “field theory” and distinctive architecture.
The residential tower includes 554 beds in traditional and semi-suite units. Shared amenities include study and social lounges on each floor, a fitness center and a ground-floor Starbucks. The top floor features a sky lounge with commanding views of downtown Chicago, perfect for residential life programming and quiet study.
The academic classroom building has large tiered, collaborative classrooms arranged in a turn-to-team configuration, two 72-seat active learning classrooms and two 32-seat flexible classrooms. Breakout spaces are provided throughout the building to encourage collaboration amongst students and help foster faculty-student interactions.
Sustainability was a key design driver from the start of the project, which is targeting LEED Gold. The building is sited in response to optimal solar orientation to mitigate heat gain. Extensive daylight studies with regard to the classrooms helped inform the design of folded aluminum fins along the exterior of the building to allow for maximum natural light while blocking direct glare.