Studio Gang Architects has been selected to design a major new residence hall and dining commons on the North end of the University of Chicago campus.
The signature facility, which will house roughly 800 undergraduates, is designed around the College's distinctive House System, with an emphasis on building community. Studio Gang will collaborate with Mortenson Construction on the project, which is expected to open in 2016.
Occupying the space where Pierce Tower and Dining Commons now stands, at the corner of 55th Street and University Avenue, the project will create a new gateway connecting the University to the Hyde Park community to the north and enhancing pedestrian flow.
"The University is far stronger when we create vibrant communities of learning and friendship for our students in our residential system," commented John W. Boyer, Dean of the College. "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."
The Studio Gang-Mortenson proposal was chosen from among dozens of entries through a rigorous process involving faculty, staff, students, and University and community stakeholders.
The residence hall will include eight houses of approximately 100 students each, with first- through fourth-year students living together. Each house will be structured around a three-story lounge, where students can meet, study, and relax. The design includes special accommodations for third- and fourth-year students seeking a more independent living experience, including private rooms and kitchen facilities; at the same time, it will allow them to take part in the development of strong communities and friendships with fellow students and staff.
In keeping with House System tradition, faculty members and advanced graduate students will live with the undergraduates as resident staff. They will cultivate the communities within each house by organizing trips around the city and extending classroom learning through lectures, programs, and events.
Tables in the dining commons are likewise organized by house, allowing the members of each community to eat their meals with friends while looking out over green courtyards. Other unique spaces, such as the top-floor reading room, respond to student needs while offering gathering spaces with panoramic views of the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan, and surrounding neighborhoods. The project also will feature a small number of retail spaces, offices, multiuse rooms, and classrooms.
Rendering courtesy Studio Gang Architects © The University of Chicago