go big…

EVt5PI5nTlCnTxOvthYKPg…or go home.  Mid-reviews last week for studio, which this semester is looking at a high-rise University Center in the South Loop.  Picking up on projects by the seven colleges and universities in the neighborhood, we’re proposing joint dormitories, academic facilities, and social spaces that would provide the schools with common facilities, on a site that’s equally convenient to each of them.

And, frankly, a doozy of a site.  The long block at Harrison and State is wedged up against the Green line El tracks, and it faces a variety of building types–a large college prep school to the west, a pretty lousy dryvit wonder university building to the north, and the venerable South Loop Club to the south.  The string of buildings on Wabash, to its east, includes the historic Studebaker building, and the vacant lot that was the site of Sullivan’s Wirt Dexter Building (R.I.P.).  So there’s a lot to respond to in terms of scale and composition.EPsQU3FzT46BWt4v8+cO9A


The program?  Well, working with alums at SOM, we came up with a modest 1.7 million square feet of space, working toward an FAR of about 16.  That’s translating to anywhere between 900 and 1500 feet of tower, depending on how you work setbacks, open space, and how much air gets pumped into the academic program.  The results are, well, pretty tall, but they’re likely to be more and more ‘contextual’ as the neighborhood develops.


Mid-reviews last week focused on elevatoring, fire exiting, and wind bracing, as you’d expect.  But with most of the projects on their way to putting ticks in those boxes we’re on to elevations and cladding this week, turning them from just really tall towers to the ‘proud and soaring things’ they’d need to be.  Good fun, and happy to be back in the city, spiritually, at least…


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