Studio Gang’s New University of Chicago Dorm Now Open

North Residential Commons (©Tom Harris Photography/Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

North Residential Commons (©Tom Harris Photography/Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

Most colleges have already had their move-in days, but down at the University of Chicago, one building did move-ins over the weekend.

It’s the North Residential Commons (don’t call it a “dorm”), designed by the gang at Studio Gang. The project also includes the Frank and Laura Baker Dining Commons; assorted classrooms and offices; and 10,000 square feet if public retail space, creating a gateway to the storied campus.

Eight hundred undergrads will call the curving buildings home for the next few months. Freshmen and sophomores get single or double rooms. Juniors and seniors get private apartments.

The University describes the project thusly:

The design features an integrated approach to environmental sustainability that brings maximum natural light and fresh air to the interior spaces. The tallest tower is also positioned to capture north-south light, naturally improving the overall energy efficiency of the entire complex. The building’s structure incorporates an innovative, radiant slab mechanical system, which supplies heating or cooling appropriate to the conditions of the rooms. Each student’s residence is provided with automated controls to account for variable sun exposure as part of maintaining comfort. It is the first major residential application of this system in the Chicago region.

Varying in width, each window is tuned to the specific use of its interior space, enhancing the building’s highly sustainable mechanical systems. Glass surfaces are patterned with a ceramic frit that helps birds navigate around the structure and minimizes bird strikes. Custom grilles on the residential windows allow students to fully and safely open their windows for fresh air and ventilation.

Students have access to two landscaped courtyards that are located above ground level to provide beautiful, readily accessible outdoor spaces for residential students. In addition to these courtyards, expansive green roof systems help to retain 100 percent of rainwater on site, diverting it from the Chicago sewer system to prevent overflows. Used cooking oil from the Baker Dining Commons is pumped into a central tank and recycled into biofuel.

North Residential Commons (©Tom Harris Photography/Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

North Residential Commons (©Tom Harris Photography/Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

North Residential Commons (©Tom Harris Photography/Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

North Residential Commons (©Tom Harris Photography/Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

Editor

Author: Editor

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

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