The University of Chicago has chosen the renowned local design firm Studio Gang for the construction of their new residence hall and dining commons.
The firm is headed up by Jeanne Gang, a well-known name in the industry for her work on Aqua Tower, among other projects. She is a University of Illinois and Harvard University alum and recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2011.
Studio Gang takes on each assignment with a “research-based discovery process,” as its website explains. It involves a deep contemplation of the needs of the space and possible creative routes.
This University of Chicago project will be the new “front door” for the school’s north campus at 55th Street and University Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The structures will replace the Pierce Tower residences and the dining common. Unveiled July 23, the design plan shows accommodations for 800 students in dormitories serving 100 people each. Every house will have a three-story lounge where residents can relax, socialize, and study.
“The goal of the design is to encourage more connections and more interactions between people,” Gang told the University of Chicago.
The dining common will be a centralized hub for all residents and connected to the other buildings through glass walkways that contribute to the communal vibe of the property. Third and fourth year students will have apartment-like living arrangements with full kitchens. The design aims to promote a balanced educational and social environment.
John W. Boyer, Dean of the College, expressed the importance of the project. “The University is far stronger when we create vibrant communities of learning and friendship for our students in our residential system,” Boyer said in an article published on the school’s website.
“High-quality collegiate housing, located centrally on the campus, is an enormous asset in supporting the educational goals of the faculty, in developing active and stimulating learning communities among our students, and in encouraging patterns of lifelong friendships among our alumni.”
This new construction in Chicago is hyped to be another landmark property in this city full of world renowned architecture. It is slated to be completed in 2016 and is estimated to cost $148 million, to be funded by a mix of donations, operating funds, and loans.