SAIC Turning Two Michigan Avenue Buildings Into One

Rendering of the new 112-116 South Michigan interior. Image by JGMA.

Rendering of the new 112-116 South Michigan interior. Image by JGMA.

As more and more college students flood downtown Chicago, its colleges and other places of higher learning are increasingly looking up.  Most recently—and most notably—Roosevelt University opened its angular vertical campus at 435 South Wabash Avenue.  Also, Columbia College has any number of vertically-oriented buildings, as does DePaul University.

Now the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is joining two of its high-rise buildings into one.  112 South Michigan (its MacLean Center) and 116 South Michigan (the Lake View Building) will soon be joined at the hip.  Or at least at the 14th floor.  That’s where Mortenson Construction is going to blow a hole in the joint and create a unified space, plus an easier way to get from one building to the other on days when there is rain or snow or a protest marching down the street.

Check out Mortenson’s press release after the rendering of the completed project.

Rendering of the new 112-116 South Michigan interior. Image by JGMA.

Rendering of the new 112-116 South Michigan interior. Image by JGMA.


Mortenson Construction Upgrades Chicago Loop High-Rise Campus for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago (August 4, 2014) – Mortenson Construction is helping the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), one of the nation’s leading art and design schools, renovate its campus to better serve students, faculty and staff. With the two Mortenson-led renovation projects, SAIC will unify, expand and make more welcoming some important student areas including student affairs, admissions and financial aid. It also will update its look in these spaces to make a new bold visual statement befitting the internationally renowned school of art and design.

“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is playing to its strengths by recreating its urban high-rise campus to better appeal to current and prospective art and design students,” says Andy Frank, the construction executive leading the projects for Mortenson Construction’s Chicago office. “Unlike colleges with bucolic settings, SAIC’s campus updates reflect the excitement, energy and creativity associated with the school and its museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as the city itself.”

During the 12-week project, Mortenson is expanding the student affairs department, which includes career services, by demolishing a wall to connect the 14th floors of two SAIC-owned adjacent buildings, 112 S. Michigan Ave. and 116. S. Michigan Ave. Mortenson is adding student lounge seating and kiosks in the extended space that also overlooks Michigan Avenue with views of Lake Michigan. The remodeling includes creating a gradual incline to adjust for the elevation difference between the two buildings’ 14th floors as well as constructing two additional classrooms.

For the school’s Sullivan Center, located at 36 S. Wabash, Mortenson is knocking down part of the corridor walls to open up the space starting at the 12th floor elevator bank. It is using translucent polycarbonate walls that allow better light and openness for the reception area while maintaining privacy for the offices.

“The School of the Art Institute of Chicago selected Mortenson in part because of its strong reputation for completing difficult projects and having a light footprint. In our case, we are operating on a tight turnaround, with work scheduled to be completed before the fall semester. We also have occupants on the floors above and below our renovations, plus we continue to operate in these spaces, which poses some real logistical and noise challenges,” says Ronald P. Kirkpatrick, SAIC’s Executive Director, Design and Construction.

Mortenson has completed more than $3 billion in higher education projects since 2000.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

Share This Post On